CAIRO, IL (KFVS) - Illinois lawmakers say developing Cairo could be the key to revitalizing Alexander County.
Mayor Tyrone Coleman welcomed senators and business leaders to Cairo Mar. 17, with hopes of moving a river port proposal forward.
For the past few years the project has been in the works.
With help from Illinois State Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) and Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont).
They believe the almost $100 million dollar project could bring not only jobs, but foot traffic back to the city.
"Time is of the essence. The city as we know it has gone down the last several years. But, today is a new beginning. Those days are over. From now on it's about the opportunity and the potential that Cairo has. We're working toward building a river port terminal - trying to get that revitalization. There are actually companies that are interested in coming to Cairo if we can get this to fruition, and we're going to," said Senator Fowler.
Which is something Mayor Coleman says is just what they need.
"We normally get a lot of negative exposure, and I always said we're no different than any other community. It's just that we haven't had that break yet, but I think we're probably right at the edge of that breakthrough, and we're just going to keep on pushing," Mayor Coleman said.
The development would fill an untapped area against the shore of The Mississippi River.
The next step is to find funding for the project.
Something they will be working on in the next few weeks, but the project could take years to develop and complete.