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Officials break ground on expansion of City of Rochelle Railroad

Local, state and federal officials joined with representatives of private industry July 27th to break ground on an expansion of the City of Rochelle Railroad.

15 private and governmental entities were involved in developing the nearly $5 million project, the bulk of which will be paid for by federal and state grants.

State Representative Bob Pritchard says the effort serves as a good example for the rest of the country.

“In the presidential election it seems that the candidate are battling about who’s going to create jobs and stimulate the economy. I think they ought to just look at Rochelle. We have the secret. We have the cooperation, in a federal, state and local partnership, team Rochelle, and great leadership.”

The project will extend rail access to hundreds of additional acres of industrial sites. It will also expand the city-owned system’s switching and storage capacity. That will give it the ability to move trains of 100 cars or more in and out of Rochelle via the two major railroads that run through the area.

The plant manager for Coated Sand Solutions, which is scheduled to begin operations in September, says the promised rail access was a major factor in its decision to locate in Rochelle.  Rochelle’s Economic Development Director, Jason Anderson, says that’s just the beginning. He says the expansion will increase city revenues from its rail line from a little over million dollars today to more than $3 million within three years.

Guy Stephens produces news stories for the station, and coordinates our online events calendar, PSAs and Arts Calendar announcements. In each of these ways, Guy helps keep our listening community informed about what's going on, whether on a national or local level. Guy's degrees are in music, and he spent a number of years as a classical host on WNIU. In fact, after nearly 20 years with Northern Public Radio, the best description of his job may be "other duties as required."