Letter: Support Cat plant to help Henry County

Staff Writer
Geneseo Republic

In the Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011, Dispatch, the headline read, “Q-C plans to woo Cat.” According to Caterpillar, “The decision to shift production from Japan is driven by proximity to a large base of customers in North America and Europe.”

What a great opportunity for our area! There will be a great deal of competition among states and cities to win this prize. Local and state representatives are working hard to put together a package suitable to Caterpillar’s criteria.

The first economic benefit to our area will be the more than 1,000 jobs. Though these jobs will be housed in Rock Island County, think of the collateral benefits to Henry County. Though an unknown percentage of Cat employees will live and work in Rock Island County, an unknown percentage of them will be living outside of Rock Island County.

What does that mean to us?  One of the benefits will be that these new employees may need to buy, build or rent homes or apartments in Henry County. Secondly, they will be purchasing goods and services from our local businesses. Just these two benefits alone will be an assist to Henry County’s economy.

Upon reading this article in the Dispatch, and seeing what potential it had for Henry County, I contacted Henry County Board Chair Tim Wells.

I indicated to him what a boon this would be for Henry County and suggested that either he or I contact Jim Bohnsack, Rock Island County Board Chair, informing him of our interest in supporting such a huge economic development in this area.

Taking this under advisement, Chairman Wells immediately e-mailed Mr. Bohnsack, informing him that Henry County was prepared to support and assist in any manner to help bring Caterpillar to this area.

Henry County has much to offer to those new hires if Caterpillar comes to the Quad Cities. Among these are good schools, many churches, good roads, fresh air, down-home values, and most of all, we make good neighbors.

Caterpillar’s decision will be made in January 2012. It is my hope that any Henry County resident who knows anyone on the Rock Island County Board, Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce, Quad Cities First, or local legislators, contact them showing support for bringing Caterpillar to the Quad City area.

Jim Eccher, Orion

District 1, Henry County Board