CAIRO, IL (KFVS) - The new year brings about a new project in Cairo, Illinois. The Cairo Port District will now start the development of a port terminal in the city thanks to a $100,000 contribution from the Rauner Family Foundation.
Cairo Mayor Tyrone Coleman is excited about the new opportunities coming to Cairo.
"This is just great for the new year to start off with...particular for places like Cairo that's had all the adversity that it has had to walk through in recent times," Coleman said.
The project is now underway. The Port District plans to quickly begin meeting with companies throughout the Midwest and Canada.
"This is an investment in the future of Southern Illinois and the state as a whole," said Governor Rauner.
Mayor Coleman explained what this contribution means for the community, "We needed someone to invest in us...aside from those local persons giving of themselves…we needed someone from the outside to come in invest in our community."
Larry Klein, the Chairman of the Port District, explained how this money helps the plan become a reality. Klein said, "This is the first time we've actually had a significant amount of money that we could move forward with our plan."
Cairo has a unique location. According to State Senator Dale Fowler, it's located at a strategic point in the inland river system.
"We have an opportunity right here in southern Illinois that doesn't exist anywhere else in the entire nation if you think about that. With the confluence of the Mississippi and the Ohio," Senator Fowler said.
"That's one of the most untapped resource areas in the country. This will give us that opportunity to reach out to bring businesses in," Coleman agreed.
Aside from the business and potential jobs the port can bring, Senator Fowler said companies have already shown interest. He added, "This is not a pipe dream this is all reality that exists there with the confluence."
Mayor Coleman concluded, "It's efforts like this that keep hope alive in Cairo and surrounding area."
Lastly, Democratic State Rep Natalie Phelps Finnie said she is also working to secure private donations for this project as well.