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Negotiations with manufacturer at standstill; HGC awaits contract

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By Matt Kelton
Pioneer Sentinel

Negotiations between the Henrietta Growth Corporation and Stone Creek Homes have come to a standstill as the HGC awaits the company’s approval of a contract between it and the economic development entity.

Rick Langford, economic development director for the HGC and City of Henrietta, said Monday that a performance contract has been drawn up by city attorney Tracy Jennings and submitted to Stone Creek Homes.

If Stone Creek Homes and the HGC can come to an agreement, the company will move into the former Silver Creek Homes manufacturing facility located on South Graham Street in Henrietta. Stone Creek Homes and David Silvertooth, former president of Silver Creek and owner of the facility, are negotiating a lease-purchase agreement for the plant. Rowdy Moore of Henrietta owns a neighboring property, on which a portion of the factory grounds is located.

If Stone Creek Homes opens a facility in Henrietta, it will be the company’s third plant put into production since spring of last year.

The company opened its first facility in Central City, Neb., in April 2011. The Nebraska plant is in full production, said Miles McGinnis, economic development director for Central City.

The town is similar to Henrietta, with a population of 2,934, and neighbors a larger city, Grand Island, Neb., 30 miles away.

Stone Creek is subleasing its Central City facility, constructed in the mid 1970’s, from Ward Craft Homes, another manufactured housing company. Any economic development agreements by Stone Creek were made with Ward Craft and not Central City, said McGinnis. According to the Stone Creek Homes website, the company has met its employment goal of 75 jobs. The company’s agreement states that it will keep the factory staffed at that level for five years.

McGinnis said the company hires through a temporary employment agency located in Grand Island, Neb., and many of the workers are not local. To his knowledge, once a temporary employee has worked at the Stone Creek plant for 90 days, they become a full time employee of the company.

After opening the Nebraska facility, Stone Creek opened a second plant in Plymouth, Ind. With the new plant in operation, Stone Creek moved its headquarters from Central City to Plymouth, said McGinnis.

HGC President Scott Clayton signed a memorandum of understanding with Stone Creek Homes Dec. 9. The company first approached the City of Henrietta about opening a manufacturing facility in September. At the time, Henrietta did not have an economic development director.

If Stone Creek Homes sets up shop in Henrietta, the company has three years to create 75 jobs, and must retain the positions for five years. In return, Stone Creek Homes will receive $90,000 from the Henrietta Growth Corporation to make renovations to the former Silver Creek Homes facility.

Langford has forwarded grant applications from Stone Creek Homes seeking Texas Capital Fund monies and funds from the Texas Workforce Commission. Langford said the grants require financial transparency from the company.

Stone Creek Homes builds small, cabin-like manufactured homes, and specializes in “Man Camps” to house oil field and mining workers.

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The Pioneer Sentinel is an online newspaper designed to deliver the news of Clay County, Texas, in a concise and community-friendly format.

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