The economic lifeblood of this rural whiz-by of a town is frozen French fries. And bacon. And fabricated steel, ethanol, hydroponic tomatoes, the production of passenger cars for METRA.
About 16,000 freight cars roll through each year, picking up and delivering grain and other goods. Soon, boutique whiskey distilled in a onetime downtown theater will also be added to the local gross domestic product.
And just maybe, someday in the not too distant future gleaming new Toyotas and Mazdas could come rolling off a production line that Illinois hopes will be built on what is now 1,000 acres of corn and soybeans.
Tiny Rochelle, 80 miles west of Chicago at the intersection of Interstates 88 and 39, is on an industrial roll, blissfully ignoring a common narrative among political and business elites that economically maligned Illinois is circling the toilet bowl. […]
Jason Anderson, who heads Rochelle’s business development agency, says the supposed bad rep of Illinois hasn’t hobbled recruitment efforts a bit.
“No one we’ve dealt with has ever brought that up,” said Jason Anderson, who leads the Greater Rochelle Economic Development Corporation (GREDCO), which has attracted companies like Nippon Sharyo, Boise Cascade, Tyson Foods, and Hormel. The town is also home to a 1,200 acre intermodal rail park run by Union Pacific, a shipping point that often sends goods to the Pacific Rim.
To see how they did it, click here and read the rest.
* Report: Springfield area’s economic strategy must change