Economic expansion in Cody that will impact Park County and the Big Horn Basin is in the hands of state legislators.
State Sen. Hank Coe, supported by Forward Cody CEO James Klessens, will introduce the Cody Labs expansion project bill in the senate Thursday.
Coe’s Senate File 97 seeks a $21.4 million loan and $3 million grant, administered by the Wyoming Business Council, to develop publicly-owned infrastructure.
The development will take place on Road 2AB in the North Cody Industrial Park.
Cody Laboratories, founded in 2000, was acquired in 2007 by Philadelphia-based Lannett Co., the oldest generic drug manufacturer in the U.S. The company employs 110 people at the former Walmart building on Yellowstone Avenue, with projected growth to 370 by 2026.
Coe said the bill has made progress.
“There was a little misunderstanding because I thought it was a loan without a grant,” he said. “But there’s a strong sense that the Cody Labs expansion is the type of economic diversity the state requires. It would be nice to do something that isn’t centered in the southeast corner of the state.
“But we need to figure out the particulars of where to get the money.”
Coe will have three minutes on the senate floor to tout the benefits of the project.
Coe said if approved, Senate President Tony Ross will assign the bill to a committee.
Coe wants it assigned to the Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee.
“I sit on that committee,” he added. “If we are successful there, we bring it back to the senate floor. It also will need approval from the Appropriations Committee because of the money involved. ”
The bill had 12 co-sponsors and eight more votes will be needed for passage.
“We have the majority floor leader, Sen. Phil Nicholas, the house appropriations chairman, Rep. Steve Harshman of Casper, and many more,” he said.
People respect for the project, he said, and it’s gained wide publicity.
“Outside the budget, this is my number one focus,” Coe added. “We’re pulling the crank on this the best we can.”
Lannett has endorsed the project.
“In their letter, they said there is a good chance other companies also will want to relocate here,” he said. “We are still the number one state in the country to do business in.”
Only one senator has told Coe that Lannett should do the project on its own “if it’s such a great deal.
“If we don’t provide some incentive, Pennsylvania, Lannett’s home state, will give them aid,” Coe said. “It’s plain and simple.”
(Chris Frost can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)