WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Galesburg Promotes Regionwide Pursuit of CAT

Jan 24, 2012

The competition is expected to be stiff for a manufacturing plant that Caterpillar reportedly plans to move from Japan to somewhere in the US. Galesburg Mayor Sal Garza said that is why the city is asking mayors, village presidents, and other leaders from five counties to write letters in support of the region.

“It's become highly competitive and these kind of projects are very scarce,” Garza said. “So we understand that we really do have to collaborate.”

He thinks it strengthens the bid for this project and perhaps others down the road if the region bands together.

The five county region includes Knox, Warren, Henderson, Mercer, and Henry Counties.

Garza said his city would benefit even if the plant is built in one of the other counties because the factory will likely end up employing some Galesburg residents who would commute to work. He said the same was true in Galesburg in the past.

“When some of our larger employers were here - your Butlers and your Maytags - we had a lot of people who would commute in from these counties to work at these facilities,” Garza said.

Garza said Caterpillar has not put out a formal Request For Proposals so it's not known what qualities it would desire in a new factory location.