Construction of a new barley malting plant in Pine Bluffs is expected to begin in late spring.

Laramie County Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved a $2,859,784 grant with the Wyoming Business Council for the project. Consideration of a loan agreement between Laramie County and Cheyenne LEADS was tabled.

The 20,000 square foot plant, which is being built on a 10 acre parcel in the Pine Bluffs Business Park, will be owned by Cheyenne LEADS and leased to business partners Chad Brown and Gene Purdy, who have the option of eventually purchasing the facility.

"The next step will be to come back, hopefully April 5, when the loan agreements between the state and the county and the county and LEADS go back before the commissioners," said Brown. "When those documents are hopefully approved, then the grant project will be fully funded."

Brown says the project has been put out for bid and they plan to interview three local contractors tomorrow.

"Construction will start hopefully in mid-May or June," said Brown. "We've heard anywhere from 6 to 9 months for completion."

Brown says the plant will help meet the demand for malt at regional breweries and also supply malt for distilling whiskey.