X
GO
Slowik: Will County leads state in creating jobs, economic leader tells business group
Tammy Reiher

Slowik: Will County leads state in creating jobs, economic leader tells business group

By Ted Slowik The Daily Southtown

Will County leads Illinois in job creation and continues to add residents while the state overall is losing population, business and civic leaders were told at an event Thursday.

Will County added 8,450 jobs in the past year, John Greuling, president and CEO of the Will County Center for Economic Development, told an audience of about 180 people during an annual economic outlook event at a banquet hall in Mokena.

“That’s not happening anywhere else in Illinois,” Greuling said.

Illinois’ population has declined by more than 100,000 people since 2013, according to the Census Bureau. Will County was home to 692,310 residents a year ago and its population had increased by 2% since 2010, Greuling said.

“In spite of all the bad stuff we think is happening in the state of Illinois, companies are moving here,” Greuling said.

Greuling highlighted several projects in eastern Will County, including a new Amazon facility in Monee. The online retailer already operates fulfillment centers in Monee and four other locations in the county.

Amazon’s new facility set to open in July will occupy 153,000 square feet and employ 400 people, he said. Amazon already is Will County’s largest employer, with more than 7,000 workers, he said.

The company describes it as a “make-on-demand” center where products will be manufactured, Greuling said.

“If you buy a book and it’s not in stock, they’ll print it there,” he said.

An Amazon representative did not immediately respond Thursday to requests for comment.

The new facility is immediately south of Amazon’s existing fulfillment center at 6605 W. Monee Manhattan Road, said Kevin Daly, Monee’s economic development coordinator.

“This is not a huge project for Amazon but it is big for the village and for the Southland,” Daly said by phone Thursday. “We’re excited to continue the relationship we have with them.”

Big-box warehouses are unpopular among many Will County residents who contend with heavy truck traffic on I-80 and other highways. The county has 184 million square feet of industrial space under roof and only 10% of it is vacant, Greuling said.

“We don’t have a lot of empty buildings,” he said. “The market can sustain more growth. There’s going to be pressure to build more large industrial buildings in Will County.”

The good news for travelers is that state legislators recently approved more than $1 billion in spending on roads in Will County, Greuling said. Most of that — $848 million — is to expand I-80 and build new bridges over the Des Plaines River.

“(The Illinois Department of Transportation) chose I-80 as a signature project,” Greuling told the audience. “We’ve always played second fiddle here,” as the state diverted infrastructure funds to other locations, he said.

Billboards paid for by a group representing union construction contractors helped highlight the need to fund the I-80 project, Greuling said.

“I-80 has become the poster child for Rebuild Illinois,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s six-year infrastructure program, Greuling said.

The state’s 2020 budget includes $162 million to build a new interchange on I-57 to serve the proposed South Suburban Airport near Monee, Greuling noted.

“(The South Suburban Airport) is a project that (former) Gov. (Bruce) Rauner walked away from,” Grueling said. “Gov. Pritzker listened to legislators from Will County” who advocated for the project, he said.

Government spending on infrastructure creates private investment in business and commerce, Greuling said.

“We needed this,” Greuling said of the state commitment to fund highway improvements. “We haven’t had something like this in Illinois for 10 years. … When businesses see the community doing the heavy lifting, they feel better.”

The Will County Center for Economic Development is a private entity that was founded in 1981 to help retain existing businesses and attract new employers to Will County.

Some trends create concern in Will County, Greuling said. For instance, 11.6% of Will County’s population is people between the ages 25 and 34 years, which is below the state average of 13.9%. In Cook County, 16.5% of the population is within that age group, he said.

“Chicago is a tech center” that attracts employees who are millennials, Greuling said. “We’re not doing so good. It’s a challenge for us. We’re not able to attract and keep those workers.”

Part of the reason may be Will County’s lack of multi-family housing, he said. In Illinois, 53% of new housing units being built are multi-family and in Cook County the rate is 82%, he said. In Will County, only 16% of new housing units are multi-family, Greuling said.

“It’s a concerning trend. We’re not building enough multi-family housing in Will County,” Greuling said. “It’s a lifestyle (younger workers) are looking for. (They don’t want to live in) subdivisions, they want to be within walking distance of train stations and coffee shops.”

Greuling praised a new initiative by the villages of Mokena, Orland Park and Tinley Park to create the Chicago Southland Interstate Alliance. Mokena Mayor Frank Fleischer introduced a video that highlighted how the alliance aims to encourage development of land along I-80 in the three communities.

unicipal alliances can help attract investment in regional concerns such as transportation and economic development, Greuling said.

“One of the things we can do better in Will County is collaborate better,” Greuling said. “Communities that work together are more successful.”

Mokena, Orland Park and Tinley Park made a smart move by forming the alliance, Greuling said.

“These are three communities that historically have been fierce competitors, chasing the same business investment and new residents,” he said.

Previous Article WCWC releases July workshop schedule
Next Article Will County Office Building closed on July 4th
Print
1496
 

Tammy ReiherTammy Reiher

Public Information Officer

Other posts by Tammy Reiher

Contact author

x
Press Contacts

Anastasia Tuskey
Communications Director
Ph: 815-740-8376

Tammy Reiher
Public Information Officer
Ph: 815-774-7485

«October 2020»
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
27282930123
45
October is Energy Efficiency Month

October is Energy Efficiency Month

October is Energy Efficiency Month. Visit the Will County Green page to learn what you can do to save energy and money in your home and business.
www.willcountygreen.com

Read more
67
Local Nonprofit Agencies encouraged to apply for CARES Act funding

Local Nonprofit Agencies encouraged to apply for CARES Act funding

Funding from the federal coronavirus relief program, CARES Act, is now available to nonprofit agencies in Will County. The County will allocate $6 million to local nonprofits agencies to assist with significant impacts resulting from the COVID-19 crisis.
 

Read more
8910
11121314
Local Officials join Pace Suburban Bus leaders to commemorate route dedicated to former               Will County Executive Larry Walsh

Local Officials join Pace Suburban Bus leaders to commemorate route dedicated to former Will County Executive Larry Walsh

On Tuesday, October 13, local officials from Will County, the City of Joliet, the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), Metra, and Pace gathered to honor the late Will County Executive Larry Walsh. Walsh was instrumental in expanding mass transit services across Will County and was a champion improving mass transit options for the senior and disabled populations in the county.
Read more
1516
Will County launches second round of COVID-19 (CARES Act) Small Business Assistance Grant Program

Will County launches second round of COVID-19 (CARES Act) Small Business Assistance Grant Program

Small businesses impacted by COVID-19 may be eligible for up to $15,000 in grant assistance. Applications accepted Oct. 19 – Nov. 16, 2020.

Will County officials are offering another opportunity for small business owner impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to apply for relief funding. Through the CARES Act passed by the U.S. Congress, Will County received more than $120 million of this federal funding, of which $24 million is earmarked for small businesses.



Read more
17
18192021222324
2526272829
Keep your Ghouls and Boos Safe this Halloween

Keep your Ghouls and Boos Safe this Halloween

The IDPH Illinois Department of Public Health is offering these tips for safe participation in neighborhood trick-or-treating this Halloween.
Read more
3031
1234567

Tags

100th birthday 50th Anniversary of Earth Day Passport event acting Chief Judge David Carlson Alison.com All Nations Church of God in Christ Alzheimer's walk America Recycles Day American Legion Post 1080 American Recycles Day Animal Control Arsenal Road assistance BBQ luncheon Becky Haldorson Bolingbrook Park District book event book recycling book recycling and reuse event book reuse and recycling Brayden Caraynoff-Haber Bruce Gould candy career Caroline Portlock CBS 2 Chicago census Charlotte Mather Citizen Utility Board Citizens Utility Board closings Clothes 4 Work CMAP Community Development of Block Grant cooling centers coronavirus county County Executive Denise Winfrey County Executive Larry Walsh County Office Building covid covid-19 Curt Paddock Danette Krieger David Dubois Deborah Alexander Deirdre Manigo Denise Winfrey Diane Brozman digital safety Director Curt Paddock Dr. L.P. Schild drive-through job fair early voting Earth Day Earth Flag Awards Eastside Green House Eden Community Garden electronic recycling electronics recycling Emergency Management Agency Erin Kohl Ethics Adviser extreme heat face coverings federal food bank forklift drivers Frankfort Township Friends of Sunny Hill funding future gardening Gertrude Hoover Green Team groundbreaking halloween Harold Damron Health Department heroin legislation forum hero helps addiction trea Historic Preservation Commission holiday bazaar holiday gift show and luncheon holiday string lights Household Hazardous Waste Illinois Extension Service Janine Farrell Jason Holicky Jeff Hubrich JJC City Center Campus Joan O'Keefe job creation job fair jobs John Greuling John Ocansey Joliet Mayor Bob O'Dekirk Joliet Park District Joliet Slammers Joyce Parker Judge David Carlson Karen Sorbero Kathy Pecora Land Use Department Larry Walsh Lewis University Madison Curran maintenance Marta Keane material handlers mechanic Melissa Hemzacek Memorial Day Midwest Classics on 66 Museum Midwest Renewable Energy Association Mike Bell Mobile Workforce Center Monee Park District Monee Township Moving Will County municipal Music and memory NACo National Hookup of Black Women neuter/spay Nick Palmer Organix Pam Rodriguez paper shredding Pastor Dwayne Barfield Penny Curran permits Pilcher Park Pilcher Park Nature Center Plainfield United Methodist Prairie State Legal Services pumpkin composting Pumpkin Pitch Recyclepalooza recycling Resource Recovery and Energy Resource Recovery and Energy Division Resume Gallery Rethink Water campaign Rolonda Mitchell rural historic structures safety Samantha Bluemer Savers Savers. WJOL school bus driver school garden Scott Slocum security officers Seeds of Change Grant Program Sharefest sign language solar group buy Solarize Chicagoland Spirit of Community Caring Award St. Vincent DePaul Sunny Hill Nursing Home Sunny Hill Nursing Home of Will County Susan Flessner Susan Olenek swimming pools Ted Slowik textile collection textile recycling The Daily Southtown The Friends of Sunny Hill Inc. Three Rivers Association of Realtors Tim Anderson tire collection trick treat USAgain veterans Veterans Day vision and hearing screening vow renewal warming centers Warren-Sharpe Community Center Washington Township Wayne Breitbarth We Will Grow Garden Program weather related closings West Nile Virus will Will County Will County Center for Community Concerns Will County Clerk Will County Executive Denise Winfrey Will County Executive Larry Walsh Will County Executive Larry Walsh Midwest Renewabl Will County Farm Bureau Will County Health Department Will County Historic Preservation Commission Will County Land Use Department Will County Office Building Will County Office Buildng Will County TB clinic Will County Veterans Affairs Commission Will County Workforce Center Will County Workforce Services Division William E. Young School WJOL Workforce Center of Will County Workforce Investment Board Workforce Services Division Workforce Services Division of Will County Workforce Services Division releases November work workshops Youth Provider Workshop