Commercial Business Sector
There are two primary commercial districts in Galesburg: a traditional downtown district (Main St.) and an area on the northwest side of the community surrounding Sandburg Mall (Henderson St.).
A sampling of major chain retailers in the Galesburg area include Wal-Mart; JC Penny; Bergner’s; Lowe’s Hardware; Menard’s; Target; Auto Zone; Walgreen’s; Family Video; O’Reilly Auto Parts; Hibbett Sports; US Cellular; Sears; Verizon; Maurice’s; GameStop; Staples; Tractor Supply Co.; The Shoe Dept.; Aaron’s; etc.
The downtown business district is highlighted by the shops in the Seminary Street area which are known for their traditional and historical elements. This shopping area is a typical attraction for visitors to the City of Galesburg because of its unique shops and businesses.
The northwest side business district is bisected by Route 110 (north-south; Henderson Street). Henderson Street has four lanes with two lanes in each direction and is directly accessible from US Route 34.
Other commercial areas are scattered throughout the community. Most notably is the Seminary Square area in the north part of the city. The Square includes a Buffalo Wild Wings and Wal-Mart, and is currently undergoing rapid development. Construction of a Kohl’s Department Store is scheduled for Spring 2012.
Galesburg can also provide ample available commercial structures that are suitable for call center, back office, manufacturing, storage, and shipping uses. Each of these buildings is within an area zoned commercial, is near food and shopping, is accessible directly from a major arterial street and offers private, off-street parking.
Business Development Incentives
Galesburg can offer an impressive array of cost-saving incentive packages to new or expanding businesses. Locally accessible incentives include Illinois Enterprise Zone District benefits, two Tax Increment Financing Districts, Downtown Facade Improvement Grants, below market rate loans for both small businesses and industry, and the provision of public infrastructure and utilities to accommodate economic development.
Galesburg’s Enterprise Zone, initially certified for 20 years in July 1984, has an emphasis on commercial and industrial development and diversification. The State has approved a ten-year extension that expires on June 30, 2014.
Originally designated at 1.5 square miles, the zone has been expanded several times. Much of the area now designated is zoned M-2, heavy industrial, although some of the designated area has other zoning such as B-2 and B-3, commercial; and R-3, multi-family. More than 90 businesses, ranging from manufacturing and warehouse operations to small service providers and retailers, are located in the enterprise zone.
In addition to the many state and enterprise zone incentives, the City of Galesburg is capable of offering numerous incentives to businesses. A 7-1/2 percent state administered sales tax will be deducted on all construction materials purchased within the City and used on a construction project in the enterprise zone. The City and all local taxing districts will fully abate any increase in real estate taxes, resulting from the project, up to $1 million for a ten-year period, on property improvements, provided that the improvements create new jobs and that the abatement does not reduce the prior assessed value.
The City of Galesburg will waive all building permit fees, water service tap fees and street and terrace opening fees for businesses locating in the enterprise zone.
The City of Galesburg will assist businesses locating in the zone to identify and apply for appropriate state and federal grants and loans.
Under Galesburg’s Economic Incentive Policy, some projects that meet specific criteria may qualify for additional incentives, including low interest loans.
The City’s five TIF districts provide a means for the City to make a variety of public infrastructure improvements in selected areas, offer financial assistance to developers and to also acquire and prepare property for discounted resale and private redevelopment.
Specific policies related to "Low-Interest Loans" will be structured and defined according to the location of the project, source of loan fund, and availability of funds.
Galesburg’s Revolving Loan Fund Program is designed to stimulate business growth when making an investment in: the purchase or creation of a business; adding a new product line or piece of machinery/equipment; or expanding, renovating, or relocating an operation. Those interested in applying should contact the Economic Development Director, Cesar Suarez.
The City of Galesburg provides water treatment services to its citizens and surrounding areas via its plant in Oquawka Illinois. Sanitary sewer service is provided to its citizens and several surrounding areas from a facility located on Main Street.
The water treatment plant has a rated capacity of 12 mgd, average daily demand of 5.5 mgd, and peak demand of 9 mgd. The sewer treatment plant’s rated capacity is 11 mgd, its average daily demand is 7 mgd, and peak demand is 28 mgd.
The Ameren Illinois Power Company, (Ameren IP), provides gas and electric power to most of the area. Ameren IP has a reputation for uninterrupted service. Because Illinois is a deregulated energy state, users can choose between IPs bundled rates or consider unbundled rates from alternative retail electric suppliers (ARES).
Comcast, CenturyLink, DIRECTV, and AT&T provide local telephone, internet, and cable services.
Galesburg is fortunate to be the home of Knox College and Carl Sandburg Community College (CSC).
Knox College is a nationally ranked, private liberal arts college. Knox prides itself on a diverse student body, including 21 percent students of color and 7 percent international. The most popular areas of study are pre-med and creative writing. Total enrollment is 1,392.
CSC is a community college that offers a wide range of courses for students at all levels. Students can earn either a certificate or an Associate’s Degree in fine arts, engineering, science, or teaching. Their most popular programs are nursing and dental hygiene. CSC is the perfect opportunity for nontraditional students because they offer both night and weekend classes. Carl Sandburg College’s total enrollment is 3,347.
Galesburg High School offers an increasing range of vocational courses as well as programs for the college bound. Total enrollment is approximately 1,431. Twenty-six universities or four-year colleges and twenty community colleges are within a 100 mile drive of Galesburg.
Demographics & Labor Market
The City of Galesburg proper had a 2010 census population of 32,195. Galesburg is located in Knox County, which has a population of 52,919. During calendar year 2008, the Galesburg Labor Market averaged a total workforce of 26,113. The Labor market’s average unemployment rate for all of 2010 was 9.3 percent.
Like many, or perhaps most primarily rural areas, the age of the Galesburg area population is, at about 38 years, somewhat older than the state as a whole. Statistics from 2009 put median family income at $32,454 and per capita personal income at $18,671.
In terms of educational attainment, as of 2009, about 17.5 percent of persons over the age of 25 had not received a high school diploma. Approximately 22.0 percent of persons over the age of 25 had at least some college education, 9.3 percent had a college degree and 6.5 percent had attained an advanced degree.
Galesburg’s ten largest industrial employers and approximate present workforce numbers are:
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway - 1,115
Midstate Manufacturing - 210
Dick Blick Company - 200
Smurfit-Stone - 120
Gate’s Corporation - 100
Galesburg Printing - 100
United Facilities - 100
KCCDD, Inc. - 100
Kopper, Inc. - 90
Heat and Control, Inc. - 90
Other major non-industrial employers in the area are: OSF St. Mary Medical Center (Galesburg) and OSF Holy Family Medical Center (973); Community School District #205 (594); Hy-Vee Stores (574); Galesburg Cottage Hospital (500); Bridgeway/Bridgeway Training (450).
Galesburg contains over three million square feet of available industrial property.
Quality of Life in the Galesburg Area
Citizens of Galesburg are proud of the attractive features for recreation, entertainment and healthcare that can be found locally or within a short drive. Included:
Public Parks - 25
Parkland Acres - 731
Public Swimming Pools - 7
Museums - 5
Community Theatres - 4
Indoor Sport Centers - 4
Public Golf Courses - 3
In terms of medical care, the Galesburg area has 2 hospitals which offer a total of 272 beds. The region offers two Level II trauma centers, up-to-date land and air ambulance service, cancer center, immediate care center, modern community mental health facility, home nursing and residential care facilities.
Galesburg has one of 32 level "A" hazardous material response teams (Hazmat) in Illinois.
An additional attractive asset of the Galesburg area is the low cost of living. Overall costs are approximately 98 percent of the national average, however in the housing area, costs are about 89 percent of the US average.
The Galesburg community hosts a variety of annual events including the Chocolate Festival hosted by the Galesburg Historical Society, Galesburg Railroad Days, Heritage Days, Stearman Fly-Ins, Knox County Scenic Drive, Taste of Galesburg, Kites over Lake Storey, and various Knox College Community Events.
Galesburg can also boast of a public school system with a student/teacher ratio of 15:1, offering more individualized attention for each student. The system has seven elementary schools, which feed into two middle schools and Galesburg High School. In addition, there are two private and parochial schools in the area.
Location & Transportation
Galesburg is located in the center of the Midwest Region, approximately 47 miles from Peoria, Illinois, 50 miles from the Quad Cities, 198 miles from Chicago, and 218 miles from St. Louis. Galesburg is situated in West Central Illinois within four major interstates: 1.5 miles from I-74 (north-west); 30 miles from I-80 (east-west); 35 miles from I-88 (north-east); and 55 miles from I-55 (south east). The area is also served by two US highways.
The Galesburg MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) includes ten Illinois counties within a 50-mile radius of Galesburg including the Knox, Fulton, Henderson, McDonough, Mercer, Henry, Peoria and Stark and Des Moines and Scott County in Iowa. The 2007 population of the Galesburg MSA was approximately 891,340.
Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail mainlines carry 150-200 trains a day through the Galesburg area in seven directions. Galesburg also has a municipal airport and is within an hour’s drive from the Quad City International Airport. Over three million square feet of available industrial property and 350 acres of rail and interstate served land provide transportation to the 35 million people living within 300 miles of Galesburg. Additionally, over 100 motor freight carriers, including all major national carriers, serve the Galesburg region.
In terms of public transportation, Galesburg provides fixed route service (buses) through a not-for-profit—Galesburg Transit and ADA Para transit through a City Division called Handivan. Galesburg Transit operates 5 fixed routes from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Galesburg Transit operates with 6 buses in-service and in 2008, provided 141,126 rides. The Handivan also operates the same hours and days but additionally provides evening service until 10 p.m. with reservations. The Handivan operates with 6 medium duty vans that are lift equipped to provide curb assistance for the disabled. In 2008, Handivan provided 17,349 rides and had 1,754 registered riders.
The cost of doing business in Galesburg is lower than state and/or national averages in several categories. These categories include: wages; real estate; lease rates; tax assessments and maintenance. Secondly, Galesburg is a community that has visibly rededicated itself to attracting new business, industry and investment and has adopted a genuine Pro-Business stance.
What does a pro-business attitude actually mean in real world terms in Galesburg? Flexible and accommodating financial assistance, enterprise zone benefits, a streamlined and timely permitting process, a populace receptive to a variety of business and industrial uses, an economic development department with an eye for sustainable businesses and innovation, and engineering growth through the competition and subsequent growth of similar area businesses.
The City of Galesburg operates under a stable Council-Manager form of government with a full time professional City Manager, a Mayor and a council of seven members elected in at-large elections.