"It's a great day in Rockford, Illinois," says Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey.
That sentiment is shared by all as the world's second largest home improvement retailer breaks ground on a state of the art distribution center.
"Lowe's is putting the center here because of the State of Illinois', because of our local communities commitment to infrastructure, infrastructure that gave us the Springfield extension, US 20," says Morrissey.
Four hundred construction jobs will be created to build the center, about the size of 31 football fields, but once the doors open 500 permanent jobs will be produced in Rockford.
"I love these groundbreakings because when I look at the dirt, and I see those shovels, and I see some of the equipment, I see opportunity--I see a chance at the American Dream, and I see tangible results, that our policies are directly going to help people get ahead and do better in life," says Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.
The city of Rockford is providing around three and a half million dollars to make the project happen. The county is bringing 2 million to the table and the state is awarding more than 11 million dollars in opportunity returns grants.
"There will be a domino effect on our entire region, including secondary jobs like restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores...the fact that a company of Lowe's stature has chosen Winnebago County shows other distribution centers that Winnebago County has all the attributes for their company to come to our region as well," says Winnebago County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen.
The center--the first of its kind in Illinois will serve around 100 Lowe’s stores in the Midwest, a major project that will reap mega-rewards for the region.
The project is slated to be completed in 2007. More than 5 miles of conveyer belts will move more than 32,000 different items through the facility. The word partnership was stressed during the groundbreaking with all leaders agreeing that the project came to fruition thanks to a strong alliance and 5th Ward Alderman Victory Bell says the project is a huge boost for Rockford’s Westside.