NEWTON, Iowa -- It has been 10 years since Maytag announced it was closing its plant in Newton. The firm had been purchased by Whirpool just weeks before the plant closed.
"10 years ago last night, I received a call at 10:23 p.m. -- I still remember the time -- from a Michigan number. They were going to announce the closure of the Maytag facility,” said Chaz Allen, who was the Mayor of Newton at the time. “That wasn’t much of a sleeping pill. We stayed up late and made several phone calls.”
In the span of a decade, the Iowa Speedway opened in 2006, the same year Maytag closed. TPI and Trinity Towers came to build wind towers and a variety of other smaller firms have moved to former Maytag facilities.
Allen now works in economic development for Jasper County.
“We were hoping for the best but we knew this was a possibility,” said Allen. “When we came in that morning of the announcement, we went from a retention to a transformation. We knew we could no longer retain Maytag, so we had to transform our community, and we’re still doing that today.”
Allen said things are still moving forward in the Newton area. This week, he welcomed Gov. Terry Branstad on a tour of Beck’s Hybrids, a new seed corn company locating to Colfax that will employ 50 people.