Area residents should look forward to the coming months of 2013 with more anticipation than they have been able to for the past several years.
Despite the chronic complainers who can find fault anywhere, local signs for a stronger 2013 can be found in several sectors of the local economy.
Local industry remains strong. Watchfire, ThyssenKrupp, Quaker Oats, Danville Metal Stamping and all of the others continue to seek skilled workers to fill open positions.
Area health care providers plan expansion this year. Carle officials could enhance their Fairchild Street clinic, continue to strengthen their hospital in Hoopeston and might add a clinic in Milford. The VA Illiana Health Care System plans to construct additional housing for veterans and their families. Provena United Medical Center — soon to be Presence — continues to add services and physicians to its offerings.
Danville Area Community College will open a satellite campus in Hoopeston and plans to offer more online options for its students.
“Student success will be a major thrust at DACC this year,” college president Alice Jacobs said in a recent story, That sets a perfect tone for 2013.
For District 118 officials, securing a contract with teachers and other staff must be a priority. The school board’s decision to attempt to change the way talks would be conducted, and the teacher union’s disagreement with that move, has caused significant delay. Upcoming talks with a federal mediator involved, will be critical.
The brightest light for the community in 2013 will be the planned opening of significant retail offerings. Kohl’s, Dress For Less, TJ Maxx and Meijer will add opportunities for local shoppers and revenue for local government.
Nothing is guaranteed, and lots of work remains to be done. But 2013 looks like a good year for the local economy.