Weather delays Governor Quinn from signing STAR Bonds Bill

By Julia Bruck - bioemail

MARION, IL (KFVS) -    Bad weather kept Illinois Governor Pat Quinn from traveling to Marion on Tuesday to sign the STAR Bonds Bill.

However, before the event was called off, many citizens and leaders from southern Illinois gathered at a union hall in Marion.  Students from Marion sang the national anthem.  The pens and star bonds bill await governor pat Quinn.  But the celebration had to wait.

"We knew there were going to be bumps along the way but we didn't know there was going to be turbulence," State Representative John Bradley said.

Bradley says the Heartland has waited decades for such a large-scale development project.  Marion Mayor Bob Butler adds this is the best thing that has ever happened in the area.

"Never in the history of southern Illinois have we had a project that can mean so much too so many people," Butler said.

Business Manager Rick Hilliard of the Operating Engineers Local 318 says some 400 members of the union are construction workers, many of which will work on the project.

"We will actually run the bulldozers, the pulls the track hoes, the backhoes the ski loaders, that actually do the excavation on the project from the beginning to the building phases," Hilliard said.

"We're hoping to see like a Cabela's or a Bass Pro that would find interest in the area," Developer Bruce Holland said.  "Then along with, something like a Great Wolf Lodge."

Holland says none of those companies, or any for that matter have committed to the project. He says some were waiting to see if Governor Quinn actually signed the legislation.

"One of them even told us, send us an article that it's passed," Holland said.

But not all share the excitement of those gather in the union hall.

"It's a partially a loss to Mount Vernon because again it doesn't directly benefit us, we're not real close to Marion," Jefferson County Board Member and local businessperson Robert White said.  "But it's still a win because it is for southern Illinois."

Under the STAR Bonds Bill, the developer will receive a reimbursement of sales tax dollars collected off the development once finished. However, none of that can happen until Quinn signs the legislation.  Take two, is set for 11 a.m. at the local 318 hall in Marion on Wednesday.

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