Foundation invests $100,000 in Alexander-Cairo Port District
The Alexander-Cairo Port District plans to hit the ground running in 2018 on its proposed port development, thanks in part, district officials said, to a $100,000 contribution from the Rauner Family Foundation.
Larry Klein, chairman of the port district, thanked the Rauner Foundation “for their generous gift.”
“This donation will give us the ability to create marketing materials and begin calling on companies in the next few months to secure their genuine interest in the Cairo port,” Klein said in a news release.
“If enough companies commit to use the port...that will open the door for us to secure additional funding for development in 2018 and beyond,” he said.
Klein said that State Sen. Dale Fowler, R-Harrisburg, was instrumental in working with Gov. Bruce Rauner to secure the donation.
“The governor and I have had some lengthy discussions about how to jump start the economy in Southern Illinois – particularly with the port for Cairo,” Fowler said.
“As we pursue state, federal and private funding, the foundation’s contribution will get us what we need to get to that next phase.”
The port district plans to quickly begin meeting with companies throughout the Midwest and Canada.
The port district is targeting industries that currently move bulk products by utilizing both rail and river for import/export from the upper Midwest and Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.
Targeted industries include seed grains, value added agriculture products, fertilizer, potash, coal and value added chemical products in liquid form.
“We’re a great state with great resources and even better people. We need to seize the opportunities to attract new jobs and businesses to Illinois,” Rauner said.
“This is an investment in the future of Southern Illinois and the state as a whole.”
A consortium of area companies is working with the port district to look for opportunities and open doors that could lead to firm commitments, and ultimately funding, for a river port terminal at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers in Cairo.
“This port will not only benefit Cairo and Alexander County, but it will help all of deep Southern Illinois prosper in the future by making it easier for farmers, mining companies and industrial firms to get their products to market more efficiently and cost effectively than they do now,” Klein said.
“Once the port is fully developed in the next few years we believe business’ and people will call Cairo home once again," Klein concluded.