Caterpillar Inc. recently announced plans for significant new investments to its manufacturing facilities in East Peoria and Decatur. The company plans a capital investment of about $340 million for production of large track-type tractors in East Peoria, and nearly $300 million to increase capacity for large mining trucks produced in Decatur. These expansion announcements are in addition to the September announcement of a $200 million modernization project of the East Peoria plant aimed at the export market. The Economic Development Council for Central Illinois uses economic impact modeling to determine the influence that new businesses and jobs can have on the regional economy. Caterpillar reportedly expects these expansion projects to bring an additional 300 jobs to the region. The EDC estimates those 300 jobs will spur an additional 162 indirect, induced and/or support-type jobs outside of Caterpillar, which brings the actual total to 524 new jobs created in the region. The addition of 524 jobs is expected to have a more than $260 million impact annually to our regional economy. On the heels of the new Bass Pro opening, the East Peoria City Council approved a tentative agreement with Cullinan Properties to bring Target and Costco to the new East Peoria/Downtown project. Construction near the proposed site is expected to begin next summer, with openings expected in 2013. The deals have not been finalized, as other agreements must be in place for the project to move forward. Additional details are expected to come in the near-future.
Thursday, December 1st @ Morton Community Bank Morton Community Bank presents the 33rd annual Morton Community Christmas Sing from 5:30 to 6:30pm at 721 W. Jackson St. in Morton. Enjoy cookies, coffee, and punch beginning at 5pm. Dana Taufer will lead the group in caroling for the 33rd year, and the John Phillips Oompah Band will provide musical accompaniment. Saturday, December 3rd @ Balance-Herschel House The Junior League of Peoria will host its annual Victorian Christmas Tea, once at 11am and again at 2pm. Guests will learn about the history of the house and Christmas traditions while being served lunch and hearing Christmas music. Call (309) 685-9312 or visitjuniorleagueofpeoria.org for tickets or more information. Saturday, December 3rd @ RiverPlex The 24th annual Jingle Bell Run will take place, with a costume contest at 9am and 5K race at 10am. This is the largeset fundraiser of the year for the Arthritis Foundation. Call (309) 682-6600 or visit jinglebellpeoria.com for more information. Saturday, December 3rd @ Sommer Park The Peoria Park District’s W.H. Sommer Park will present “Christmas on the Ghost Front” from 10am to 4pm. Join World War II vets, historians and re-enactors as the days leading up to the Battle of the Bulge are recreated. This is open to the public and admission is $5/vehicle. Call (309) 691-8423 for details. Saturday, December 3rd @ Peoria Public Library, Main Library The Peoria Public Library will offer two films with discussions in honor of the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. At 10:30am, the new documentary L-Bird: The Little Plane That Did, will be shown, and at 1:30pm, another documentary, December 7th, will be shown. The public is invited. For more information, call (309) 497-2141. Saturday, December 3rd @ Peoria County Animal Welfare Shelter The Peoria Humane Society is hosting a Howliday Boutique and Open House of Peoria County's animal shelter from 11am to 3pm. Visitors can shop for gifts for their pets, tour the shelter, and enter to win prizes. Donations for the shelter are also appreciated. For more information, call (309) 682-9015 or visit peoriahs.org.
Last week, Peoria NEXT announced Grant Brewen as its new CEO. Brewen is currently head of the Biotechnology Research and Development Corporation (BRDC), housed at the USDA’s National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research Lab in Peoria since 1988. He will continue in that position, as well as his new role at the helm of Peoria NEXT. BRDC, under Brewen’s leadership, was one of a dozen anchor organizations involved when Peoria NEXT was formed in 2001. Caterpillar Inc. recently announced plans for significant new investments in its manufacturing facilities in Decatur and East Peoria. The company plans to invest nearly $300 million to increase capacity for large mining trucks produced in Decatur. An additional capital investment of about $340 million is planned for production of large track-type tractors in East Peoria. The company expects the additional truck capacity in Decatur to be installed by 2016. The work to expand large track-type tractor production in East Peoria is expected to be completed by 2015. The Morton Chamber of Commerce announced the development of Leadership Morton, a new local leadership program. Leadership Morton will begin on January 11, 2012, and end on March 14th, meeting weekly from 7:30am to 10am. The program will incorporate leadership skills education and provide a broad understanding of public issues, workings of state and local government, civic challenges, and the role the community and organizations play in problem solving. To register or for more information, go to mortonchamber.org/leadership-morton, or call (309) 263-2491. The Salvation Army held a ribbon cutting last week to open its Veterans Outreach Center. Its staff, with the support of groups like the Veteran’s Outpatient Center, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Disabled Veterans, Department of Veterans Affairs, VFWs, and American Legions, will provide services for homeless and at-risk veterans. The Center will be open Monday through Friday from 9 to 2pm. For more information, call (309) 655-7272.
Thursday, November 17th @ Peoria NEXT Innovation Center NOVUS presents “Protecting Innovation – A Patent Primer,” with Leroy Hagenbuch of Phillipi Hagenbuch, an inventor with over 50 patents. The event takes place from 5:30 to 8pm; $10 admission includes hors d’oeuvres and beverages. To register, visitnovusnetworking.com. Friday, November 18th @ Embassy Suites The public is invited to the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce’s 36th annual Thanksgiving Day Luncheon at 11:45am. The featured speaker will be Ed Rapp, group president and CFO of Caterpillar, Inc., and the annual Tom Connor award for community service will be presented by WestPoint Financial Group. Visitpeoriachamber.org/event/36th-annual-community-thanksgiving-luncheon to reserve your table or seat. Friday, November 18th & Saturday, November 19th @ The Motherhouse A variety of handmade and other items will be available at the annual fall bazaar sponsored by The Sisters of The Third Order of St. Francis. All proceeds will assist the poor. The sales runs Friday from 9am to 5pm and Saturday, 9am to 2pm at The Motherhouse, 1175 St. Francis Lane in East Peoria (access road #14 off Route 116). Call (309) 655-3897 for info. Saturday, November 19th @ W.H. Sommer Park The Peoria Park District’s Sommer Park will host a Civil War Winter Quarters construction from 10am to 5pm. Living historians in authentic uniforms will use period tools and construction methods to prepare for their winter encampment. Admission is $5/vehicle. Call (309) 691-8423 for more info.