Harkin Praises Grants At Newton Stop

AUGUST 14TH, 2008 | TomHarkin

By ANDY KARR | Editor

Read the original story at The Newton Daily News

Sen. Tom Harkin appeared at Newton City Hall Tuesday, joining other elected officials and community members to celebrate the recently awarded federal grant money totaling more than $1.2 million.

The previously-announced grants include $580,000 for a Trinity Corporation storage facility that will house wind turbine equipment. Central Iowa Rural Water received an EDA grant for $670,000 to construct a water tower and help support the Central Iowa Energy Biodiesel plant and TPI Composites wind turbine blade manufacturing plant in northeast Newton.

Harkin touted the grants as helping Newton become a leader in renewable energy production. “Newton will soon be competing to be the renewable energy manufacturing capital of the world,” he said, drawing applause from the audience.

“It was a dark day a couple years ago when the announcement was made that Matyag was shutting their plant gates. Slowly and surely, with determination and not without a few bumps in the road, Newton has made great strides on the road to recovery,” Harkin said.

In all, TPI and Trinity are expected to bring about 640 jobs to the community. Mark Stiles, a corporate senior vice president with Trinity talked about his company’s plans in Newton. Trinity currently is in the construction phase and is hiring people for its wind tower plant in the western portion of the former Maytag Plant 2.

The company plans to employ around 140 people and Stiles estimated the company would spend more than $20 million on the facility and equipment inside. Such an investment means the company plans to be here for a long time.

“The wind business is good, but we’re not going to pay for that facility in four years,” he said. “The wind tower business is expected to get bigger than it is. It’s going to last. You can see in the foreseeable future it’s at least through 2025 with just the current demand.” Stiles expects the facility to be rolling sections by October with the first towers being delivered from the building in November.

“We expect to be a legacy business one of these days. We’re already going to be one of the top six or seven employers in Newton, and we’re going to be sponsoring little league teams. We’re going to be buying ads in the football program,” he said. “Our people here are going to be part of the community.”

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