Rochelle considers possibility of Toyota-Mazda plant

ROCHELLE, Ill. (WIFR) -- A local city could see 4,000 new jobs if they are chosen as the site for a new Mazda-Toyota plant.

"We've seen a lot of things come, and we've seen a lot of things go," reflects lifetime citizen, Michael Chunko as he thinks about his past, growing up in the city.

Chunk grew up watching the trains pass by several blocks from his house. It's that very railway system that city leaders believe makes Rochelle an attractive location for a potential Toyota-Mazda plant.

"[Plants] add jobs for the people that live here, and provide jobs for some people out of town too because not everyone who works at these places lives here, and that's a draw to the town too," adds Chunko.

"We've spent, in Rochelle and the area, almost 40 million dollars to get ready for projects like this," says Rochelle Economic Development Director, Jason Anderson.

Anderson says the recent addition of a water tower and well, new transmission lines, water and sewer lines, and road upgrades, makes the hub city a prime draw.

"Our plan has always been to expand it to its boundaries, and so, our thoughts were, back about a year ago, let's get a thousand acres of a new area ready and prepare the acres there, so whenever a project like this comes up, Rochelle is ready; and Rochelle is ready," says Anderson.

Anderson believes that rail access from California and to Washington State, as well as it's proximity to I-88 and I-39, and the Greater Rockford Airport could be the tipping point in bringing the plant, and 4000 jobs to Ogle County's largest city.

"We know that, when a community gets a large manufacturing facility, it's more than just the community cause people come from miles around to access it, so this is really a win for the whole area." "just hope that everything works out for the betterment of everyone in the community," says Illinois State Representative, Tom Demmer.

Rochelle City leaders say they are unsure when they will hear back about whether or not they are chosen as a location for the plant.

11 states in the U.S. are being considered for the development. Dekalb is also being considered as a potential site.