Kewanee BOMAG Plant Closing - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Kewanee BOMAG Plant Closing

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BOMAG, a paving equipment manufacturer says it will close its Kewanee plant by the end of next year.

Three years ago the company consolidated a Missouri location into its Kewanee workforce.

Now the company says it will move to the southern U.S. to remain competitive.

BOMAG is one of the last remaining large manufacturers in Kewanee.

The state offered it incentives when it combined plants.

It received $25,000 for employee training costs.

It also qualified for $400,000 in tax credits, but a state spokesperson says the company did not apply for any.

Now as the Hog Days festival gets set up in Kewanee, residents wonder what's next for their city.

Business owner Ted Canellos says, "It's not like it used to be, you just got to keep on trucking like they used to say."

"I heard the rumor 2 or 3 weeks ago, I didn't know if it was true or not, but it's sad," says Nancy Snyder.

She's called Kewanee home since the third grade. She's seen it's ups,

"We used to sit out here and watch the people walk around and go in and out of the stores,"

Now she sees mostly downs.

"The town has went down hill since the 80's, I came back from a job out of town it has just gone down hill since the 80's," says Snyder.

Census data shows the number of people employed by manufacturing firms in Henry County, where Kewanee is the largest city, has fluctuated. It has been up near 5,000 people, now it's around 3,800, with another 100 potentially leaving the trade.

"It was a big thriving town at one time, and it's going to hurt, it's going to hurt really bad," says Mary Rowlison.

She worked at BOMAG back when it was Hyster. She spent 26 years in the computer department. Now she's watched the big guys slowly vanish.

"I think it's going to hurt the town a lot it has been a major, major, industry for this town for all these years, before Boss, and Boiler, now Hyster, all of them it's a shame," says Rowlison.

The company press release says the move will make it more competitive. Rowlison says Kewanee just wants a chance to prove itself to a big manufacturer again.

"This town's got a lot of wonderful people, a lot of hardworking people, and they would do anything to bring this town back to what it was in the 80's and 90's," says Rowlison.

A struggle that may dampen Kewanee's big labor day weekend festival.

Calls to the company president were not returned today.

Kewanee's elected officials say they will work quickly to use the economic development tools at hand to find a suitable replacement for BOMAG.