Kewanee Leaders Looking Beyond BOMAG - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Kewanee Leaders Looking Beyond BOMAG

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The future of another Kewanee factory facing closure appears up to city leaders

BOMAG employs at least 100 people and had consolidated its U.S. operations to the city three years ago.

Now that it will be closing, city leaders are focusing on their options.

They have tools some cities do not.

Mayor Bruce Tossell says the closure will hit Kewanee hard.

"The people that earn the money spend the money here in town, and regionally," says Tossell.

He says globalization has not been kind to Kewanee over the last decades. Fixing the damage quickly from BOMAG, will be a top priority.

"It affects a heck of a lot more than just the employees of BOMAG," says Tossell.

He says the city has tax incentives it can extend to the plant for rehab work. It can offer forgivable loans for creating jobs too.

"If they can reach certain levels of employment over a five year period, we can forgive some of that loan, free money for them," says Tossell.

The city also has something a lot of other cities lack, cash. It receives hundreds of thousands of dollars from ethanol plants and wind farms near it. City council member and economics professor Mike Yaklich says the city just needs to find the right employer to replace BOMAG.

"This is definitely not a situation we're happy to see, but the reaction has to be let's roll up our sleeves and get to work," says Yaklich.

He says Kewanee has good relationships with its economic development groups and Black Hawk College. Relationships it can use to find a replacement for BOMAG.

"When you have manufacturing in your community you have to do things to support that manufacturing, they need trades people, they need skilled workers," says Yaklich.

Kewanee leaders have a meeting set up with state lawmakers and economic officials this Wednesday.

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