By Brenden West Assistant Editor
The Clinton Herald
---- — CLINTON – Tuesday’s arrival in Clinton marks a meaningful visit for Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds.
When German-based manufacturer RAIL.ONE is officially christened at the Lincolnway Industrial Railpark, it will be the first of many regional openings hoped for by state and local economic supporters.
“It’s exciting to see economic growth all around the state,” Reynolds said in a statement to the press Friday, “so traveling to Clinton for the opening of the $22 million RAIL.ONE project that will bring 65 new jobs to the area is another indication that the Iowa economy continues to grow.”
Joining Reynolds for the ribboncutting will be RAIL.ONE executives who are visiting from Germany and India, state legislators, county and city officials and Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debbie Durham.
Two years ago, the railpark was still a concept. Now, it’s starting to create jobs, and, according to CRDC president Mike Kirchhoff, international interest in the 500-acre industrial zone continues. Overall, he’s working with 10 companies with eyes set on possibilities in Clinton, Camanche and Fulton, Ill. Four of them are “railpark-related leads.”
“It’s really exciting that we have this opportunity with RAIL.ONE,” Kirchhoff said. He added the facility moved “swiftly” through construction, finishing ahead of schedule.
“It’s providing jobs and investment in the community,” he said. “It’s international investment. It opens potential for us to bring more international investment to Clinton.”
At 11:30 a.m., Reynolds and other delegates will tour the new facility followed by prepared speeches. The event is catered by Clinton’s Rastrelli’s Restaurant, which will feature a German-American meal for the international guests. Attendance is expected to reach 150 people.
The group then will split off to visit more happenings in town. Reynolds and company will tour the new Clinton High School Innovation classrooms at 1:30 p.m.
“As co-chair of the Governor’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Advisory Council, I look forward to visiting the Clinton High School Innovation classroom as we look for creative ideas and concepts to scale up across the state,” Reynolds said. “We are working to develop the strongest possible statewide STEM initiative, so having the opportunity to interact with students and teachers at Clinton will allow us to learn from their experiences with the Innovation classroom.”
Later, Durham will give a lecture at the Clinton Community College Technology Center about the importance of economic progress in Iowa. She’s scheduled to present at 7 p.m. in a forum open to the public.
All of this is coming during an important time for the region, Kirchhoff said. He added Nevada Railroad Materials – the second occupant of the railpark – is also making headway on its development, with “some operations already beginning.”