Kankakee County thinks outside the box to wrap up Amazon headquarters
It might be a long shot, but Kankakee County has everything it takes to land Amazon's coveted second headquarters, County Board member Ron Kinzinger told the Kankakee Times.
"Kankakee County is now in front of the decision makers of a major U.S. corporation," he said. "As to the viability of the idea, the corporation will decide. I appreciate board leadership that has such innovative thinking for Kankakee County."
Kinzinger was the only Kankakee County Board member, including Chairman Andy Wheeler, to respond to a request for comment.
Amazon, the electronic commerce, cloud computing and shipping giant, announced earlier this fall that it is looking for home for its HQ2 – and the load of local investment that goes with it. Hundreds of proposals have poured in from across the country, and Kankakee got its bid in just before the September deadline.
The competition is fierce. Chicago's proposal for what is being called "Amazon City" has the support of Gov. Bruce Rauner, but it is only one of approximately 240 proposals.
It will be no small boon for the community that lands the project, according to Amazon's announcement.
"We expect to invest over $5 billion in construction and grow this second headquarters to include as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs," Amazon said. "It will be a full equal to our current campus in Seattle. In addition to Amazon’s direct hiring and investment, construction and ongoing operation of Amazon HQ2 is expected to create tens of thousands of additional jobs and tens of billions of dollars in additional investment in the surrounding community."
That's something Kankakee County would like to see. Shortly after Amazon made its announcement, Rep. Lindsay Parkhurst (R-Kankakee) announced the county had submitted its own Amazon HQ2 request for proposal (RFP). That proposal was sent to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity just ahead of the deadline of Sept. 25, Parkhurst said in her announcement.
"I am very proud we were able to work as a team to meet the state's deadline," Parkhurst said in her announcement. "Chairman Andy Wheeler and everyone involved worked hard to make this happen."
The Kankakee County proposal "thinks outside the box and offers Amazon an inspired, innovative, imaginative and inventive proposal," Parkhurst said. "It is definitely not the cookie-cutter proposals offered by metropolitan cities. Kankakee County offers so much, from location to landscape, and we hope Amazon will see this and be a part of our community."
The process is providing visibility for Kankakee County, Kinzinger said.
"Every time Kankakee County is mentioned, there is an opportunity for success," he said.