Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis delivered the annual State of the City Speech Wednesday, a day after Caterpillar announced it will take its headquarters and top 300 executive jobs to Chicago.
Peoria Public Radio’s Tanya Koonce reports.
The annual Chamber of Commerce luncheon drew a larger than normal 625 business and civic leaders. Mayor Ardis says he thought long and hard about how to re-frame his planned remarks after Tuesday.
“My last sentence regarding Caterpillar was quote, 'make no mistake! We want and need a vibrant Caterpillar in Peoria and we wouldn’t be Peoria without Caterpillar!'” And Ardis says outside of the top executive positions moving, all of that holds true. Caterpillar’s business offices, factor floors, visitors center and its history remain in the Peoria area and that won’t change.
The mayor says healthcare continues to be the largest employment sector with more than 32,000 jobs.
Caterpillar anticipates 12,000 jobs will remain in Central Illinois. But the company also cut 1400-jobs in the area last year.
The Mayor, who is a runner, concluded his annual state of the city speech with this, "Yesterday is history. Now it’s time to do what Peorians do. We face the adversity. We unite and we take the hill! We will survive this!”
In fact, Ardis says the city will come through the challenge of Caterpillar’s headquarters move with event greater resolve.