Many local residents are anticipating the opening of Jacksonville’s new Tri-County Industrial Site on East Morton.
The 82-acre site located at 2250 East Morton received some high praise recently from a prominent Midwest power company as it was the first such in the state to be designated as an Ameren ELITE site.
Ameren ELITE sites are designated through a comprehensive review process to offer premier, ready-to-go property within Ameren’s service territory. Receiving the ELITE designation allows potential industrial businesses to speed up their construction process.
Paul Ellis, President of the Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corporation, explains what the designation means for future site.
“The shovel-ready designation is kind of like the ‘good housekeeping’ seal on your property. What it tells a potential company that wants to come into the area is that this property is ready to go, there’s not going to be surprises or delays. A lot of state’s have that program, we don’t have one in Illinois but our utilities do, and Ameren is one of the utilities, and we are, as of now, the only shovel-ready site recognized by Ameren right now in the state of Illinois. We are also recognized by the Norfolk Southern railway, and both of those are marketing partners for us as well,” Ellis explains.
As for businesses that could potentially find a home at the Tri-County Industrial site, Ellis says the response came earlier than expected.
“We’ve had some interest, I’ve got a couple of people I’m following up with already and we’re continuing with marketing and we are getting responses. I can’t tell you that I have someone who’s ready to sign a check today, but I wasn’t expecting that to happen quite this fast. It’s an 82-acre site that’s going to be a lot of money. It’s definitely a rarity to find a site that big – you can put a million square foot building on the site – and it’s rail-served and it’s ready to go, that is very, very rare anywhere, particularly in our part of Illinois,” says Ellis.
Ellis says that while the unstable perception of Illinois does create some concerns for potential businesses, he believes the JREDC and the Tri-County site has the resources to alleviate any issues they might have.
“I have to be honest, yes, that can be a detraction. But I’ll also tell you that, generally, companies are looking for specific locations and they have specific needs. So they’re looking for a distribution center that’s going to put them someplace in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and the closer they can get to the spot they want to be shipping stuff from, that’s going to dictate their decision as much as anything else. I think with our local support, local incentives, and the follow-up that we do locally, we can overcome any objection anyone might have,” Ellis says.
Another major strength that the Tri-County Industrial Site has is its access to the Norfolk Southern Railroad. The Tri-County Industrial Site is just one of several properties in Morgan and Scott Counties promoted through the JREDC. To hear more about the site, check out our full interview with Ellis online at WLDS/WEAI.com.