Quinn helps bring more jobs to southern Illinois

MOUNT VERNON, IL (KFVS) - Governor Pat Quinn made a stop in southern Illinois to help bring an economic boost to the region. Quinn signed legislation needed to build a new coal gasification plant. The coal gasification plant will be built in Jefferson County but is expected to bring jobs to the entire region.

The more than 2 million dollar plant is also expected to bring millions of dollars to the area. Dollars that some local business hope to see in their register.

Burgers sizzle on the grill at the Waltonville Café.  Owner Janice Laur says while she has steady lunch business, more are always welcome.

"Just about anything that comes in brings us more business, and we appreciate that," Laur said.

The coal gasification plant is set to go up not far from Laur's café. It's slated to bring more than 1,000 construction jobs and take three years to build.  Once complete the plant will provide over 600 permanent jobs.

Mary Ellen Bechtel with the Jefferson County development corporation says it's an opportunity to improve the entire region.

"It will bring families to this area which is what we're hoping," Bechtel said. "I mean the region and get more population in this region, and then population supports other activities and quality of life that we like to see here."

Bechtel says it took seven years to get to this day. Last spring Quinn vetoed the bill. But supporters went back to the drawing board and changed the bill. It now has several more consumer protections, include a rate cap and a reconciliation account to pass savings back to consumers.

"It's our second chance," Bechtel said.

It's a chance, which Laur hopes, will translate into more burgers on her grill, cash in the till and another person on her team.

"I would like to be able to employee somebody full time that would give somebody else a job," Laur said.

Crews are expected to break ground in January. It's expected to take three years to build the plant. Once complete, the plant is expected bring some 25 million dollars per year to the region.

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