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Sterilite Corporation will get an assist with its major development project, should Davenport annex some of the final unincorporated pieces of land near the Eastern Iowa Industrial Center.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority's City Development Board considered Davenport's three requests for annexation Wednesday, near the border of Eldridge and Slopertown Road, where Sterilite Corp. is expanding its facilities. Kraft Heinz opened a nearby plant in the Eastern Iowa Industrial Center last fall. 

Davenport Economic Development Manager Susanne Knutsen said annexing the three parcels — they include 155 acres of private land, less than one acre of railroad property and more than 16 acres of county property — allows Sterilite to combine all of its land into one parcel. 

"Sterilite was paying property taxes under several different parcels because the lower parcels hadn't been combined yet," Knutsen said. "It's cumbersome, paying so many different tax bills. So this allows Sterilite, and to a lesser extent Kraft, to combine all of the property parcels, versus them having to keep track of two in the county and five in the city." 

Last month, production began on Sterilite's plastic housewares plant in Davenport, and construction is ongoing at its new 2.6 million-square-foot manufacturing plant. As part of the development agreement with the city, the company received $18 million in incentives, including tax increment financing rebates. 

The annexations were stalled, Knutsen said, until Eldridge annexed land north of Slopertown Road, as the Iowa Economic Development Authority prohibits cities from creating islands of unincorporated areas surrounded by city limits. Last month, Eldridge Assistant City Administrator James Martin said the state board approved the annexation of around 120 acres, which should be the final piece for Eldridge. There is now a 30-day wait period for public comment, he said.

To assist both cities' developing industrial parks, construction continues on Slopertown Road. A $2.6 million Revitalize Iowa's Sound Economy grant approved last year will help cover the cost of new truck and employee entrances. An additional $1 million-plus RISE grant, approved in April, will help fund the reconstruction of 4,200 feet of Slopertown Road.

In its announcement, Sterilite said its new plant will create 500 jobs within five years. The company's Davenport development was recognized by the national Site Selection Magazine as part of its 2017 Governor's Cup Awards. The economic development magazine chose Sterilite Corp.'s production as the fourth top project of the year, according to a news release.