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Published: Tuesday, 10/6/2009

State OKs funds to study site for food processor


The Ohio Department of Development has awarded funding needed to study nine acres in central Toledo where Perrysburg's Minnie's Southern Style Entrees and Desserts wants to build a frozen food manufacturing facility, Mayor Carty Finkbeiner announced Monday.

The $243,282 grant will allow the city to complete an environmental assessment at 215 City Park Ave., an unused property just west of the Anthony Wayne Trail.

The work will include the installation of eight shallow monitoring wells up to 20 feet deep, 56 soil borings, also up to 20 feet deep, 15 surface samples, and a geophysical survey.

"Investments in brownfield redevelopment are an important factor in attracting and retaining business in the city of Toledo," the mayor said. "The redevelopment of the site will allow the property owner, Aunt Minnie's Food, to open a new location at this site, bringing over 30 new jobs to the city of Toledo."

Completing the study will take up to eight months, said Joel Mazur, the city's senior environmental specialist.

The mother-daughter team of Minnie Sebree and Claudia Sebree-Pressley said they selected the Toledo site in part because the neighborhood needs the redevelopment.

"This is a disadvantaged area and people here really need jobs," Ms. Sebree-Pressley said.

They got into the frozen-foods market in 1999 after achieving success as the owners of a Toledo catering and restaurant business that specialized in southern-style cooking.

The company currently assembles and packages products in a building on Williams Road in suburban Perrysburg.

The company's sweet-potato pie, peach cobbler, and cornbread stuffing, which began from a collection of Mrs. Sebree's recipes, can be found in the frozen food section in Wal-Mart stores in Toledo.

State Sen. Teresa Fedor (D., Toledo) said Ohio moved swiftly to secure the grant funding after it learned the company was being solicited by the state of Louisiana to relocate.

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