The News-Leader’s Answer Man: What’s going on behind the Coca-Cola bottling plant?

Morning News

The plant is building a 400,000-square-foot warehouse.

“We have not made a formal announcement yet,” says Sally Hargis, chairman of the board of the Ozarks Coca-Cola\Dr Pepper Bottling Co.

“When you produce and sell products you’ve got to have someplace to put them,” she tells me.

In recent years, the Coca-Cola product line has expanded to include coffee drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks and carbonated and non-carbonated waters.

The company bought the adjoining 24 acres in July, she says. It’s too early to give a target date for completion — other than 2020.

“In 2020 we are going to be celebrating 100 years of our family’s business in Springfield and the Ozarks,” she says. “My grandparents moved to Springfield in 1920 and bought the franchise.”

The new warehouse will mean new jobs, she says, but it’s too early to tell how many. 

The main entrance will be from the bottling plant at 1777 N. Packer Road.

In addition, there will be an exit onto East Blaine Street.

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Like you, Barry, when I first called the plant, I spoke to someone who told me he did not know what was going on in the field.

Who does? I asked.

The operations manager told me to call Hargis.

The 24 acres sits off of East Blaine Street, to the north of it. According to online records with the Greene County Assessor, the city owns the property immediately bordering East Blaine Street on the north.

I visited the site Monday and I could see where a road will be constructed from East Blaine to get to the warehouse site. Several homes border the empty field.

I knocked on the front door at a home on Old Orchard Avenue, one of several with backyards that abut the field.

Devin Ebenstein, an adult, has lived here for about two years. He says his mother bought the house about two years ago.

The grading started about a week ago. He let me stand on a chair along the wooden backyard fence to take pictures.

Three heavy-equipment operators were hard at work. They chewed up earth to within about 3 feet of the row of backyard fences.

“It was nice to have a field back there,” Ebenstein tells me. “There were deer.”

Keep those questions coming. Send them to The Answer Man at 417-836-1253, spokin@gannett.com, on Twitter @stevepokinNL or by mail to 651 Boonville Ave., Springfield, MO 65806.

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