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The intersection of E. Locust St. and N. Clayton Ave. is seen on July 24, 2018 in Tyler, Texas. (Erin Mansfield/Tyler Morning Telegraph) 

Hiland Dairy Foods Co. will be allowed to close a portion of East Locust Street as part of an expansion planned in the next year and a half. 

The Tyler City Council authorized the street closure at a regular meeting on Wednesday. The Tyler Planning and Zoning Commission approved it earlier this month.

Hiland Dairy will close off the block of East Locust Street between North Clayton Avenue and North Fuller Avenue as part of the expansion. The company has its plant on the south side of East Locust and has bought three parcels on the north side.

Heather Nick, the city's managing director of planning and economic development, said in an interview that the company may seek in the future to combine all four lots and the block of East Locust Street into one property.

Additionally, Nick said the company may seek to have the three properties located north of East Locust rezoned. The properties currently have residential zoning, and some of the properties have homes on them.

“It’s very exciting to see an existing company and plant expand their business in Tyler,” Nick said. “That’s always very exciting because that shows you that they’re invested in the city of Tyler and they want to stay here and they want to bring more jobs.”

Councilman Don Warren, who represents the area, said during the meeting that he has seen the company’s expansion plans and also is excited about the project. He said the company would be a good community partner.

Hiland Dairy purchased Tyler dairy operations from Brookshire Grocery Co. in 2017. The purchase included leasing two locations on U.S. Highway 271 and Old Jacksonville Highway, and purchasing the property near East Locust Street, according to Barry Beaman, the company’s general manager for Texas operations.

“We’re very pleased that (the street closure approval) happened,” Beaman said. “That’ll allow us to expand and serve multi-areas in the state of Texas out of here which are right now served from out of state.”

Hiland Dairy, which is owned by the Prairie Farms and Dairy Farmers of America dairy cooperatives, purchased the dairy operations from Brookshire's with the intention of expanding the Tyler plant to handle Texas operations, according to Beaman.

“Without that street closure, the expansion wouldn’t be possible,” Beaman said. “There’s just not enough area. That’s why we purchased the homes on the other side of the block. We’ve been doing that over the past year.”

Beaman said the architectural work is being done for the expansion now and completion of the project will take up to a year and a half.

TWITTER and INSTAGRAM: @_erinmansfield

Government Reporter

Erin came to Tyler from Vermont, where she worked for VTDigger.org and previously the Rutland Herald. She received her B.A. in Economics and Spanish from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where she also attended journalism school.

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