|Foundry forges ahead in Pekin
Ceremony marks completion of 1st phase of road improvements to allow Excel expansion
By KEN HARRIS
GateHouse News Service
Posted Oct 03, 2012 @ 10:50 PM
PEKIN - Federal, state and local legislators joined representatives of Excel Foundry on Wednesday to cut the ribbon on a newly upgraded Wagonseller Road and Shady Lane, which also got a new name: Excel Way.
U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Peoria, and state Rep. Mike Unes, R-East Peoria, were on hand at a ceremony that not only marked the completion of the first phase of a $2.5 million road improvement project but also served as a celebration of Excel Foundry's $15 million expansion that is supposed to create 100 new jobs - and prompted the infrastructure improvements.
"Literally, they could've gone anywhere," Unes said, "and believe me when I tell you that any city and any state would've rolled out the red carpet with attractive incentive packages to get such a great employer to their area. But to Excel's credit, they wanted to stay here. They just needed a little help."
With an increase in demand owing to an increase in mining across the globe, Excel Chief Executive Officer Doug Parsons planned to expand the foundry.
Wagonseller - from Manito Road to Townline Road - needed an upgrade, and the intersections with those roads needed to be improved to handle the large trucks needed to haul the additional products Parsons wanted to ship. Shady Lane needed to be paved and reinforced to accommodate truck traffic going to and from the several loading docks at the new facility.
The first phase upgraded Excel Way as well as Wagonseller Road from Manito to Garman roads. The second phase will upgrade Wagonseller from Garman south to Townline Road and is scheduled to be completed in 2013.
The Illinois Department of Transportation has pledged about $875,000 in grant funding for the project, and the federal government had already committed $750,000 in grant funding, leaving Tazewell County to cover the rest of the nearly $900,000 needed to finish the project. However, Schock announced that the federal government was granting another $500,000 for the project, severely cutting down on the amount needed from the county.
"This is a wise use of taxpayer dollars in infrastructure, not just for Excel but hopefully for future expansion up and down this roadway for like businesses," Schock said.
"I think it's hard to imagine that this is a global company, but it is, and most of our product goes outside of not only the state but the country, and we service mining around the world," Parsons said.
"And because we are passionate about doing that better than anybody else, we've been blessed with growth, and that growth is on the back of the men and women that do the work here," he said. "And I really want to point out the fact that manufacturing is alive and well in the United States, and those companies that have continued to invest are thriving."