NORFOLK, NE — An empty field full of potential now symbolizes what could be empty promises.
Almost two years ago, Texas based manufacturer OCT Pipe announced a multi-million dollar plant to be constructed in Norfolk that would bring hundreds of jobs.
OCT Pipe Chairman, Charley Havens, said Norfolk’s economy was sure to take off once his plant is up and running.
Havens told News Channel Nebraska in August, “ We’re going to put over 300 people to work.”
The applause he once received is slowly fading because it’s been two years and city officials want to know why they haven’t seen any construction progress.
In a statement released Tuesday, Norfolk Mayor Josh Moenning said that the city is putting out a public call for OCT to update them on the project’s timeline.
The city spent millions of dollars in infrastructure upgrades to bring OCT to town, including helping finance a natural gas pipeline.
The one-million square foot manufacturing facility was supposed to be up and running by 2017. But back in January, Havens said there were delays.
“When you change vendor manufacturers we had to start all over with our drawing and design. That’s what really put us behind. Then real close behind that we extended our offering of pipe and couplings.”
But even with construction delays OCT CEO Buddy Brewer told News Channel Nebraska in January that OCT was full steam ahead and would begin construction over the summer. But that didn’t happen.
In his statement, Moenning encouraged Havens to communicate with the city their intentions for the land northeast of town.
News Channel Nebraska reached out to Havens for comment but got his voicemail and have not heard from him.
With unanswered calls and unanswered questions, it’s unclear what will happen to the field that was supposed to be a major economic boost for Norfolk.