Thousands of jobs announced for entertainment, retail center near Marion

By Arnold Wyrick - bio | email

MARION, IL (KFVS) - Your next destination vacation might be a lot closer to home then you imagined.

That's because a new entertainment and retail center is being proposed on 400 acres of undeveloped ground north of Marion, Illinois.

"It might have a Cabela's or a Great Wolf Lodge," said Bruce Holland president of Holland Construction Services.  "Which is something we'd really like to see here. It's a themed hotel that has an indoor water park. So what you're looking at are the kind of users that you might find in Branson, Missouri."

The company's idea is to tap into a new sales tax and revenue initiative, better known as STAR bonds, to build the $370 million project.

According to local economic developers, the project would generate thousands of new jobs.

"It's projected to create 5,600 permanent jobs. Jobs for Williamson County, Franklin County, Jackson County and the surrounding areas," said Dr. Allan Patton director of FREDCO.

The construction jobs could add up to another 6,000 temporary positions.  Once completed an estimated $750 million in economic revenues for the region.

"We so need the jobs. We need the influx of the capital. It's a win-win situation as far as I'm concerned," said Marion Mayor Bob Butler.

But, before the first dirt can be turned on the project, the Illinois Legislature must approve the STAR bond measure. And the governor would then have to sign it into law.

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