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Local Column

Olson: Come to DeKalb, Toyota-Mazda

If automakers Toyota and Mazda bring a new assembly plant to DeKalb, everyone involved will be a hero.

A new, major employer that could bring thousands of new jobs would be a tremendous boost for DeKalb, Sycamore and all of DeKalb County. The companies would benefit from building their factory here, too.

I have lived in a number of different places before starting to work in DeKalb and to live in Sycamore. I know that this is a great place to live and work.

Not only that, but the area has everything a manufacturer would need. There’s plenty of open space for development, easy access to Interstate 88 and rail lines, an ample water supply and fiber-optic lines, too.

Let’s not forget a great park and trail system, superior public school facilities, a majestic new DeKalb library, an educated local workforce, a strong community college and a public research university that every semester turns out new graduates who are ready to start and continue careers.

DeKalb’s City Council not only has land and buildings available for industrial use, but it has approved several residential projects, including one proposal for more than 1,000 single-family homes that has yet to begin construction. Your workers need a place to live, and there are a lot of people here ready to build houses for them.

Sure, DeKalb’s not the big city … but it’s also not the big city. The taxes are low compared with Chicago’s suburbs. The cost of living is, too. Driving around town, we almost never sit in traffic.

Most local people are pretty friendly, even on the Internet.

Oh, I hear the naysayers, the people who want to say “but the state government … .” They’d have you believe that people are fleeing the state in droves for Indiana or Wisconsin.

Those people might be the ones who have already moved to Wisconsin or Indiana, and now they’re lonely.

If automakers create jobs here, people will come to fill them. Once they get here, they’ll be happy they came, just as my family and I have been.

All that should be enough, but I’m willing to offer even more.

I’ve been driving the same Toyota Highlander since my first daughter was born 12 years ago. I was planning to keep it until she starts driving a few years from now, but if they start building automobiles in town, I’ll buy a new one.

How many other towns have newspaper columnists offering a guaranteed sale? That’s what you’d get if you build an auto assembly plant in DeKalb.

Think about it.

• Eric Olson is editor of the Daily Chronicle. Reach him at 815-756-4841 ext. 2257, email eolson@shawmedia.com, or follow him on Twitter @DC_Editor.

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