ELWOOD – Local trade organizations came out weeks ago in support of NorthPoint Development’s proposal to build a 2,000-plus acre light-manufacturing and industrial complex in Elwood.
On Wednesday, those same groups announced a labor agreement with NorthPoint for Compass Business Park. The project still would have to get approval from village of Elwood trustees. Estimates by NorthPoint have said the project could provide up to 1,600 construction jobs over the course of a 10-year construction period.
The Three Rivers Construction Alliance of Will County, a labor management cooperative in Will, Grundy, Kankakee and Iroquois counties, called the project labor agreement with NorthPoint, “a model for cooperation between labor and developers.”
“This is a smart, responsive plan that would create thousands of jobs for our members,” Three Rivers Construction Alliance Executive Director Tom White said in a news release. “Given the area’s economy and need for skilled union labor, we must take advantage of opportunities that put residents of Elwood and Will County back to work and spur economic development in our communities.”
Compass Business Park would be on the east side of Route 53 and stretch all the way into Manhattan at full buildout. NorthPoint believes the park would have the potential for 15,000 full-time jobs at the complex, aside from the construction jobs.
Kansas City-based NorthPoint has touted a proposed gateway bridge over Route 53 that would be the only access to the park for semitrailers.
The plan also includes an “enclosed loop” system that trucks would use to travel through the complex, and barriers that prevent them from leaving onto local roads.
The gateway bridge would funnel trucks toward CenterPoint, west of Elwood’s village core and onto Interstate 55, NorthPoint said.
The Will & Grundy Counties Building Trades Council is a coalition representing 28 unions and about 25,000 members. President Doc Gregory said the $1.2 billion facility is “precisely the kind of economic boost that Elwood and the county need.”
“The project is one of the only thoughtful, planned developments that actually reduces the adverse impact of track traffic in the area,” Gregory said.
Not all feedback has been positive, however. Many residents of the village of fewer than 3,000 people, and farmers in rural Jackson Township, are against the park. They cite pollution and increased traffic as some of the reasons why.