JOLIET – Joliet celebrated another moment in economic development at a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday afternoon for the future corporate office and warehouse for Cadence Premier Logistics.
The event was held the day after Amazon.com announced it would double its operations and add 2,000 jobs at facilities neighboring the Cadence site.
The dust was flying at the Laraway Crossings Business Park, where Ikea also has begun work on its future 2.8 million-square-foot distribution complex.
“It’s a beautiful day and another great day in Joliet,” Mayor Bob O’Dekirk said in his remarks at the ceremony.
O’Dekirk and others at the ceremony pointed to the need to improve roads and update infrastructure to accommodate the increased traffic coming with added distribution and workers. But the focus, for the day at least, was on jobs and economic growth.
“We’re looking at another 100 jobs coming to our city,” O’Dekirk said. “When phase two is done, that’s another 100 to 120 jobs. It’s another great success story for Joliet.”
The first 100 jobs are moving from Cadence’s existing operations in Alsip.
The company picked Joliet to find a spot where its current workforce could commute.
“They’re all coming,” said Rocky Caylor, president and CEO at Cadence.
But the company also needed a location where it could grow, Caylor said. And, it will be hiring for phase two, expected to be completed in 2017.
“The 120 additional jobs we are going to be hiring for,” he said. “Now we can grow. As soon as we can get settled in here, we’re going to be looking to grow.”
Phase one, which is expected to be completed by November, will include a warehouse operation. Cadence Premier Logistics is a trucking company that began in 2005. The company headquarters also will be at the Laraway Crossings Business Park, a fact that was noted by Thomas Osterberger, vice chairman of the Will County Center for Economic Development board.
“The CED is focused on getting headquarters here,” Osterberger said. “It shows their commitment to their operations being here. And, you see some of the better-paying jobs at the headquarters as well.”
Phase two will be a truck maintenance facility and fueling center.
Caylor said the maintenance and fueling center will be primarily used by Cadence’s 350 trucks. But the company will service other trucks as well.
Also at the ceremony was Matt Hart, executive director of the Illinois Trucking Association, who spoke on the value of the trucking industry in Illinois.
“We transport 78 percent of the freight in this state, more than double all of the other modes of transportation combined,” Hart said at the ceremony. “Illinois’ 23,000 trucking companies employ 279,000 men and women. That’s one out of every 18 workers in the state.”
The growing number of trucks in Joliet and other areas of Will County, however, has become a growing concern for residents. The trucking industry, too, has some concerns.
Bill Frasor, regional vice president for the American Trucking Associations, was at the Thursday ceremony and said even the boom happening in Joliet is threatened by state budgetary issues that slow down road funding.
“How long is this going to last if they can’t get their act together in Springfield?” Frasor said. “Without the funding, the roads are going to go.”
O’Dekirk said he and other local officials are emphasizing the economic development in Joliet on trips to Washington, D.C., to persuade transportation officials that road funds are needed here.
“We keep pointing to this area and saying this is the economic success story in Illinois,” the mayor said. “We’re getting traction in Washington.”
Visit this story at TheHerald-News.com for video from the groundbreaking ceremony for Cadence Premier Logistics.