The Clinton Herald
---- — 2013 holds a lot of promise for area residents
Here are 13 reasons why we should be excited about 2013:
1. Iowa now is in the top 10 for business climate and Clinton was designated the top Micropolitan City in Iowa by Forbes and Policom Corp. Iowa and Clinton are positioning for a strong future.
2. The leadership of Iowa is very strong thanks to Gov. Terry Branstad and our legislators. When a state is in a strong fiscal position it is very good for future economic development. Our state produces food — we are No. 1 in corn, beans, pork and eggs. In addition we are number one in ethanol and number two in wind power.
3. Eastern Iowa has now created 230 new jobs — a $7 million payroll! This payroll will turn over about five times, giving us a total of $35 million being spent in the Gateway area. Construction costs for these businesses will be about $38 million; $25 million for the Railport; $6 million for Data Dimensions; and $7 million for the Wilson Building in downtown Clinton. This will produce hundreds of construction jobs and many companies will sell products to these businesses.
4. New businesses means jobs. Jobs expand the tax base for the city, county and schools. People will buy homes and spend money in the Gateway area.
5. This summer the Lyondell plant will start a $50-plus million turnaround that will be in full swing by August, hiring over 1,000 construction workers.
6. Our modern transportation system was started in 1995, an $80 million investment that is now coming to completion. This includes Camanche Avenue, Mill Creek Parkway and 19th Avenue North as well as the work on the 20 miles from Fulton, Ill. to Rock Falls, Ill. The federal government and US Chamber of Commerce state that a modern transportation system is the number one or two criteria that businesses look at when they relocate.
7. The Clinton school system continues to invest in its infrastructure. The new middle school will have an investment of $21 million, again creating many construction jobs. This addition will spur development in that area. Our schools in Iowa have the best high school graduation rate of all the states.
8. Union Pacific will continue to move forward with the property acquisition for its new rail bridge, greatly improving transportation flow for the railroad and bridge traffic. This is a $400 million project that will benefit commerce in Illinois and Iowa, and is a huge construction project.
9. The fine folks across the river in Fulton, Morrison, Thomson and Albany are working diligently to open the Thomas Correctional Center. In October the federal government starts a $25 million remodelig program and in one year these towns will work hard to obtain funding of $160 million for the opening of the prison. This project can create up to 1,100 permanent jobs at very high wages.
10. Camanche is completing Washington Boulevard, which is a very nice $4 million addition for their grand entrance to the community.
11. Clinton has spent $1.25 million in street improvements the last two years, which has made a huge difference. Clinton will spend an additional $2.5 million per year for the next seven years. This is a wonderful commitment made by our city leaders.
12. The citizens of Clinton have the honor of electing five council people and four school board members this fall. Democracy at its best!
13. The Chamber of Commerce worked many months to develop the Wilson building in downtown Clinton. They are a real driving force in our city. The Clinton Regional Development Corp. has worked with the county and city to develop our railport which is now paying off; this development will produce many more jobs in the future. Also, many local businesses are starting or expanding — a shop for a concrete contractor, expansion of a dentist’s office, new automotive repair, housing complex, possible large warehouse, bank expansion and $400,000 for the Clinton-Camanche bike path.
In closing, this is our community and working together we can accomplish a great deal. There is no reason why we cannot be the No. 1 city in Iowa. It’s an admirable goal. People in eastern Iowa should be proud that we have accomplished so much. This is a great place to live and raise a family. Thanks to everyone who has worked hard to move our community forward.