Construction of a facility that will employ at least 100 people to turn food waste into chicken feed could start this spring, the attorney representing the company said.

The Fort Wayne City Council preliminarily approved an ordinance Tuesday, 7-2, allowing Do Good Foods to use the city’s bonding power to finance the project with $25 million more in Indiana Economic Development Solid Waste Facility revenue bonds. Do Good Foods can borrow up to $190 million through the bonds, Starkey said.

Bond attorney Richard Starkey said with this financing the company plans to break ground in May and outfit a shell building at 8645 Aviation Drive in about 18 to 24 months.

Councilman Russ Jehl, R-2nd, said the city and residents aren’t liable for repayment of the bonds. Do Good Foods Fort Wayne LLC is responsible for the debt but is using the city’s bond standing to get a lower interest rate.

“And we get the jobs,” Jehl said. “I wish they were all this easy.”

He called Do Good innovative and a nice economic development for Fort Wayne.

Jehl also confirmed during the meeting that the company paid all legal fees. This was the third time the council had seen the paperwork, including a document of more than 200 pages, he said.

The company, founded by brothers Justin and Matt Kamine of Bedminster, New Jersey, announced plans to come to Fort Wayne in June. The business will go into a shell building on Aviation Drive, which the business can renovate to its needs.

Do Good will collect surplus fruits, vegetables and meat from grocery stores for free. Do Good keeps that surplus out of landfills by upcycling it into chicken feed.

The company gives the feed to farmers for free and then sells the poultry under the Do Good Chicken brand.

The plant would have an annual payroll of more than $6 million, according to city documents. Starkey said it would employ both skilled and unskilled workers.

It will be the brothers’ second food upcycling plant. They opened the first near Philadelphia in late 2021.

The council approved Do Good’s ability to borrow up to $190 million in August. In December, the members approved Do Good issuing $153 million in bonds.

Starkey said the company plans to stay at the $178 million total of the bonds the city has approved and doesn’t expect to ask for the remaining $12 million.

The company originally requested $140 million in bonding power in June. Do Good needed the increase due to growing project and financing costs, said Carman Young, economic development specialist.

Councilmen Paul Ensley, R-1st, and Jason Arp, R-4th, voted against the ordinance. Ensley said after the meeting the plant is a worthy idea, but he votes against all municipal bonds for private businesses.

“I don’t think government should be picking winners and losers,” Ensley said.

Council members are expected to make a final decision next week. Preliminary committee votes rarely change before final decisions are made at regular meetings.

Local Government and General Assignment Reporter

Reporter James D. Wolf Jr. began working as a journalist in 1987 while earning his bachelor’s degree at Purdue University Calumet. He has worked in Indiana, Iowa and Illinois.