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Transportation investment discussed at 10/28 CSEDC quarterly forum

Investment in transportation assets drives economic development in the Southland, particularly within communities surrounding the South Suburban Airport. That highlighted discussions at the Chicago Southland Economic Development Corporation’s quarterly forum held Oct. 28 at Bult Field in Monee.

Steve Young presented the results of IDOT and Federal Aviation Administration economic impact studies that predict nearly a $41 billion – $51 billion impact on airport communities. He is the acting director at the State of Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Aeronautics.

“Airports bring jobs to the communities they serve,” Mr. Young said. Those jobs can be in construction, airport operations, service, hospitality, restaurants and retail. Airports also facilitate commerce and have development potential on or near the airfield as well as attract business partnership opportunities.

IDOT acquired general aviation airport, Bult Field, in 2014 for $34 million as part of the plan to develop the South Suburban Airport. Altogether IDOT has acquired over 4,400 acres for the project. Currently they are exploring the best public-private partnership structure for the development and long-term operation of SSA. Please click here for the presentation slides, or here for a related story.

Towns surrounding the South Suburban Airport

Beecher Mayor Greg Szymanski and Administrator Bob Barber, Crete Mayor Mike Einhorn, Monee Mayor Jay Farquhar and University Park Mayor Vivian Covington presented economic development updates on their communities. See their presentations below.

More Regional Updates New Balmoral Park owners, HITS (Horse Shows in the Sun), along with show staff and participants are likely to make good use of the airport, along with hotels and restaurants said General Manager David Kiviat.  HITS produces equestrian show/hunter and jumping events at sites around the United States, and they plan to hold up to 14 shows a year at HITS-Balmoral during the spring and summer.  Please click here for a related story or here for the corporate profile presentation slides.

Freight rail investment will also spur economic development in the region. CSX Regional Vice President Thomas Livingston, along with IDOT spokesman Sam Tuck, gave an update on the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program (CREATE) partnership. CREATE is a first-of-its-kind partnership between U.S. DOT, the State of Illinois, City of Chicago, Metra, Amtrak, and the nation’s freight railroads. CREATE will invest billions in critically needed improvements to increase the efficiency of the region’s passenger and freight rail infrastructure and enhance the quality of life for Chicago-area residents. See the presentation slides here.

Finally, CSEDC Director Reggie Greenwood discussed a new industrial marketing program promoting the Southland’s large tracts of available land, quality workforce and the region’s unique transportation and railroad assets. He also gave an update regarding the companies that are making new investments or reinvesting more than $350 million in the region. See the presentation slides here.

We gratefully acknowledge Mike Scholefield for emceeing the event, the informative presenters and all who participated in the fall quarterly forum. The next one is scheduled for Jan. 27, 2017 at a location TBD. More photos are here.

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