The Pekin City Council will use $500,000 in either state or local money to aid a military and aerospace manufacturing company in its expansion plans.
DCX-CHOL wants to purchase a neighboring property. The expansion is set to create 90 new jobs.
The company has asked the city for assistance to defray some renovation costs. Those costs could be covered by a Rebuild Illinois grant from the state, but that application process is moving slowly.
"They're very aware of our application to shovel-ready, and of the project. So my sense is they will turn that around as fast as they possibly can," City Manager Mark Rothert said of the state grant process.
However, Rothert said the state only has four employees reviewing grant applications. If the city is denied a grant, or if word on an approval is delayed past August, the city could instead use TIF funds for the project. DCX-CHOL is on an aggressive timeline, with construction work slated for August and new hiring on schedule by the end of the year.
Mayor Mark Luft said many of the 90 new employees may be local.
"They were very willing, and had no problem whatsoever, that when this deal got done, working with us on the hiring process to make sure people from here were given that first opportunity," Luft said.
The company is working with Illinois Central College to get connected to a talent pipeline. Two Bradley University graduates were recently hired by the company.
Councilman John Abel hailed the expansion plans as a victory for Pekin, which he said was competing with so-called "right-to-work" states for the opportunity to bring the new jobs in.
"I think that's a plus for us and this whole region. Because I haven't heard anybody from Peoria or the surrounding counties talking of hiring 90 people. Extra new jobs," Abel said.
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