A Wisconsin company has scrapped plans, originally announced in October 2007, to build wind tower production facility in southeast Iowa. Hendricks Industries said the $90-million plant in Keokuk would create up to 400 jobs. Keokuk Mayor David Gudgel says he wasn’t shocked by the announcement, considering the 2007 death of company founder Ken Hendricks.
"There’s no doubt his death really caused a total change, if you will, in the speed in which Ken Hendricks usually did things," Gudgel said. Currently, Hendricks’ only tower production plant is located in Denmark. Gudgel says company officials are still interested in opening a U.S. plant, but don’t plan to make a decision until sometime next year.
"If they decide to do that, then I was assured that Keokuk is still on the list of very possible locations for that tower plant," Gudgel said. In addition to the plant, Hendricks had planned to invest millions of dollars into the construction of a new port terminal along the Mississippi River. Gudgel says one of Keokuk’s biggest employers, Roquette America, has purchased that land from Hendricks.
"So, in that regard, the dreams that we have down here in Lee County have not been dashed in terms of the port terminal," Gudgel said, "which we think is very, very important for not only our economic success, but also for Iowa’s." The Roquette plant in Keokuk is a corn-based wet milling operation that produces various syrups and starches.