Regional efforts continue to strengthen; Caterpillar decision disappoints

February 8, 2012 03:22 PM
City officials were contacted by Caterpillar, late yesterday via phone of its decision not to locate their planned manufacturing plant in Illinois. Mayor Sal Garza, while expressing disappointment in Caterpillar’s decision pointed out that, "This is a very competitive environment for projects like this. Communities from across North America were competing for the project. Galesburg’s proposal was very competitive, but in the end there were variables beyond our control at play. CAT’s decision in part was based on their desire to locate the plant close to its division HQ in North Carolina."
Garza went on to describe the conversation with Caterpillar officials, stating, "They expressed Galesburg should be very proud of its efforts. They found our efforts very assertive and progressive, which caught the attention of senior management. From the conversation, we were able to take away that Galesburg and West Central Illinois could be in consideration for future opportunities."
Garza pointed out Galesburg’s campaign to attract Caterpillar also garnered national media attention. Television stations from coast-to-coast reported there was "A new era in economic development in Galesburg," and portrayed Galesburg and West Central Illinois in a very positive light. "We were able to get our message out to businesses across the country that Galesburg and West Central Illinois is ‘open for business’ because of the campaign. Getting positive exposure like this is very important for any economic development effort."
"Galesburg received overwhelming support from county, municipal, federal and state elected officials, and community partners. Putting together a regional support structure is going to be very important going forward if we are going to effectively compete for jobs in today’s global economy," Garza stated.
State Representative Don Moffitt later said, "While its disappointing that Caterpillar choose to go elsewhere, the city’s regional efforts to attract the facility were outstanding - very assertive and positive in nature. Their actions to build regional support are something that can be built upon for future opportunities. Galesburg should be proud of its efforts."
Henderson County Board Chairman Marty LaFary also expressed optimism regarding Galesburg’s regional approach, stating, "It was exciting to be part of a regional effort to attract this facility. We look forward to working with Galesburg and our partners in the region in attracting future job creating projects."
Garza also shared, "Caterpillar is but one of many opportunities the city is involved in. Over the past two years we have retained or created over 800 jobs, and we have several projects in the pipeline that should come to fruition in the near future. Caterpillar, and large projects like it, are but one level of the city’s comprehensive multi-prong strategy for economic development."
"I’m very proud of the city’s Economic and Community Development teams’ efforts in this campaign. They garnered national attention for our Economic Development initiatives, put us on the radar of Cat and other businesses and have laid the groundwork for future regional economic development collaborations," Garza added.
The city is very appreciative of the support expressed by all of its regional partners, and will continue to compete for job creating opportunities when they make sense for Galesburg and the region.


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