Construction of batch dairy operation draws near

By JOE VANDELAARSCHOT - Daily News

Oct. 3, 2014

RICHFIELD - Preliminary work is nearly complete that will allow the opening of a small batch dairy production operation in Richfield.

Village officials earlier this year approved site, building and operations plans for the project, which will be called Lake 5 Food Mart. The operation will be at 106 Highway 164, just north of Highway Q.

Multigenerational Hartford area farmer Kurt Schwendimann has been working with village officials for more than a year to allow a dairy operation at the site along with the sale of food-related products. Schwendimann was also granted a conditional use permit by village officials to go ahead with the project, which will be at a former church and several businesses.

“It’s taken him some time to get the other things accomplished he needs to have done in order to begin any construction,” Richfield Village Administrator Jim Healy said. “We’re in the process of completing the work on his certified survey map. When that’s done, the additional land that he also purchased, and that is separate right now, will all become one large property.”

Healy said Lake 5 Food Mart needs administrative approval.

“We’ve already got all of the fees calculated and once those are paid after the CSM is approved he can move ahead with construction,” Healy said.

Bill Burkhart, president of Skyline Development, which is managing the project, said he expects to receive news next week that will determine when construction will begin.

“We’re waiting for the expected final approval from the lender on the project,” Burkhart said. “We should have the final word on that by around Wednesday and after that we can really move ahead. This is a very exciting project.”

In 2013, the village changed the zoning of the property to allow Schwendimann to acquire his conditional use permit, which he was granted earlier this year. The land surrounding the building is zoned for agricultural use so he can grow crops there.

Schwendimann wants to build a 30,000-square-foot barn on the property, which would house 200-250 dairy cattle. He owns the cattle, which will be moved from other land he farms.

Milk from the cows would be used to make dairy products, including cheese, yogurt and butter. He also wants to construct greenhouses to allow the growing of produce and other food items.

Schwendimann plans to have space in the main building to serve food, operate a delicatessen and a specialty grocery store.