MARION, IL (KFVS) - The city of Marion, Illinois is looking to expand through commercial development.
City finance commissioner Anthony Rinella said the city is negotiating with companies to bring in retail, industry and other service jobs to the city. He said the city is looking for businesses that will pay wages that can support families.
"We've been fortunate in southern Illinois to sustain that growth," Rinella said.
Rinella said Marion's location along the Illinois Route 13 corridor and Interstate 57 makes it a prime location to set up business. He said the nearby airport and rail systems are also appealing to businesses.
City leaders over the past several years have also worked to limit red tape that prevents businesses from forming. Rinella said the city's special Tax Increment Financing districts that provide incentive for businesses to invest in the community has been crucial to the city's growth.
"We go out of our way within reason to attract business," Rinella said. "And I think businesses appreciate that, that a municipality is willing to do that for them. And I think that's why we're so successful."
Marion has grown from a city of less than 14,000 people to one with more than 18,000 people in just the last decade.
Rinella said Marion also offers many municipal services like a good schools, a library and other forms of recreation that is inviting to families.
He said the biggest challenge ahead may be that Marion is located in Illinois. He said the state's financial uncertainty can be frightening for businesses.