Gettysburg officials hope to change Norcold decision to leave Darke, Shelby counties

UPDATE @ 10:35 p.m.

Elected officials in the Village of Gettysburg have asked for a meeting with U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, officials in Darke County and those representing Norcold, the RV refrigerator maker that will close its facility in the village and another in Shelby County because of economic conditions and labor constraints.

Thursday night, Brown, in a statement responding to News Center 7′s request for comment, said he is disappointed in Norcold’s “shortsighted” decision.

An estimated 100 workers at the Gettysburg plant and 258 at the Shelby County plant in Sidney will be out of work by the end of January.

>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE: ‘It’s a shame’: Norcold to shut 2 northern Miami Valley facilities

The Gettysburg Norcold location is tentatively scheduled to close Dec. 31 and village officials are begging Norcold to stay because the company accounts for 90 percent of the village’s taxable income.

“I don’t want to say panic because we do have good leaders and we will get through it. We always do. But this is just the biggest, biggest blow we’ve had since we lost our school,” Village Council President Cheryl Byers told News Center 7′s Haley Kosik.

The village lost its school in 1972.

Mayor Mike Shives said word of the closings surprised him and his first concern was for his daughter because she works at Norcold.

“As mayor, I started to think about the financial part of it and that’s when I started making phone calls,” he said.

Shives said he believes there is some hope that maybe another business would be coming to the village. Norcold does not own the building from which it operates in Gettysburg.

>> RELATED: Norcold closings to affect more than 300 workers

Shives and Byers share the opinion of Village Administrator Jay Roberts, who said, “Gettysburg is a great village, great people and they deserve great services. And we are already running a skeleton crew.”

Roberts said he hopes the closing does not happen.

“We hope things work out. That’s all you can do is hope,” he said. . . . ”Pretty much, hope runs the whole show here.”

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Byers said village officials “feel like we were kind of just hung up to dry.”

Norcold will not be recalling any of the affected workforce, Heather Bates, senior manager in human resources with Norcold, said in an Oct. 27 memo to the Ohio Department of Jobs & Family Services announcing the closures.

“The company is attempting to locate positions at other facilities for affected employees but has not yet been able to finalize any details on potential relocation,” Bates said in the memo.

Sen. Brown also said Norcold’s decision to close those facilities after more than 50 years without any discussion is disappointing.

“The choice to put hundreds of Ohioans out of their jobs is not only the wrong one but it’s shortsighted and I hope Norcold reconsiders its decision,” the senator said.