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DMI wind turbine plant closes in West Fargo

One of the last wind towers from DMI in West Fargo is moved Monday south of Fargo on Interstate 94. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

WEST FARGO - The DMI Industries wind turbine plant here has closed, a West Fargo official said Monday.

What will become of the facility remains to be seen, said Mark Vaux, West Fargo economic development and community services director.

Vaux said the city is in contact with Dallas-based Trinity Industries, which recently purchased DMI from Otter Tail Corp., but he said Trinity officials are "holding their plans for this facility very close to the vest and have assured us they will let us know what those plans are when the time is appropriate."

Otter Tail spokesman Michael Olsen said the deal between Otter Tail and Trinity regarding the West Fargo plant became final Oct. 31, when the wind turbine contracts Otter Tail was still responsible for were completed.

Otter Tail said in September it was providing career transition support and severance plans for DMI workers.

Late last week, a number of wind towers that had been stored in a field near the West Fargo plant were placed on trailers and driven away.

West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern said it appeared the last of DMI's wind turbines left the plant Monday and he reaffirmed his hope the new owner of the company will resume manufacturing on the site soon.

A message left for Trinity Industries was not been returned by the time this story went to print.

The company bought DMI for $20 million in a deal that covered plants in West Fargo, Tulsa, Okla. and Ontario, Canada.

DMI had about 500 employees in total before the sale and 216 of those jobs were in West Fargo.

While it now appears those jobs are gone, there is hope they will return, Mattern said.

"I think we have to think optimistically," Mattern said, adding it would not make sense for Trinity to purchase the facility and not put it to some productive use.

Olsen said Trinity Industry produces industrial products, from wind towers to railroad cars.

"What they might end up producing in that plant, I wouldn't know," he said.