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A Norfolk mainstay

June 2, 2018 GMT

In the category of smart decisions, the Norfolk City Council recently approved unanimously a $180,000 economic development loan to ContiTech USA to help with the company’s plan to expand its rubber mixing operations in Norfolk.

Norfolk Mayor Josh Moenning spoke for many when he said, “I think we can all agree it’s a proven use of our economic development designated resources to facilitate a significant expansion of a good corporate citizen in the community.”

It was in early January when representatives of Continental — which owns and operates the ContiTech industrial hose plant in Norfolk — announced a multimillion-dollar expansion that would create about 30 jobs.

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The expansion is designed to accommodate its North American manufacturing facilities by providing rubber for industrial hoses and whitewall tires for passenger cars. At the time of the announcement, it was shared that the expansion would add 20,000 or so square feet to the Norfolk plant.

“The investment will also reaffirm our commitment as a good corporate citizen to the Norfolk community and the region as we secure jobs and support the economies of each,” Dan Granatowicz, plant manager in Norfolk, said at the time.

This is the kind of economic development that any community wishes for.

It’s not just because of the jobs provided over the years to more than 300 individuals, although that is certainly significant. It’s also because the plant has been one of Norfolk’s manufacturing mainstays for four decades, quietly going about its business.

As a company, and through its workforce, the plant has contributed in many ways to the regional economy and qualify-of-life endeavors.

The plant was first operated by Goodyear, and has gone through some name and ownership changes in recent years. For a time, it was operated by Veyance, but on Jan. 30, 2015, the plant officially became part of Continental, which is based in Germany.

A lot has been made of the disappointment that plans for the construction and operation of the OCT Pipe plant in Norfolk have failed to materialize. That would have been a great addition to Norfolk and its economy.

But it’s projects like the ContiTech expansion that can be viewed as the valuable and needed economic boost so important to Norfolk. We’re glad the city is playing its part in helping foster the expansion, and we’re especially pleased that ContiTech continues to be a Norfolk mainstay.