LANCASTER, Wis. — A possible expansion of a Lancaster production facility could lead to the creation of the country’s largest goat cheese plant, according to city officials.

Lancaster Common Council members this week took initial steps to help Saputo Cheese USA move forward with an expansion of its goat cheese manufacturing facility in Arrow Ridge Business Park.

Council members unanimously voted to start the process of vacating a portion of South Roosevelt Street in the business park to accommodate the possible expansion. The current facility is located at 425 S. Roosevelt St. on the city’s east side.

The street-vacation issue has been referred to the city’s Plan Commission for consideration.

“I think the key item is that we’re working together to try to make this work,” said City Administrator David Carlson. “There’s a lot of moving parts. It’s not like we have a development agreement (in place).”

Saputo personnel declined requests for a phone interview for this story.

“Saputo evaluates its operations on an ongoing basis, and no decisions have been made,” company officials wrote in an email.

The Montreal, Canada-based company has owned the Lancaster facility since 2015, when it purchased Woolwich Dairy for about $64 million. The 28,000-square-foot facility opened in 2008.

Carlson said the expansion would span 175,000 square feet and the total investment would be $75 million to $100 million. The company is eyeing the purchase of three additional lots in the business park, as well as the construction of a whey processing facility.

Some utilities on Roosevelt Street might be required. However, those details still are being worked out, Carlson said.

In spring 2018, Saputo closed a cheese production facility in Fond du Lac that employed about 130 people. Saputo officials said they saved $5.5 million when they closed the plant to move operations to a new facility in Almena.

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