Grant given to for construction of research park

By Gus Bode

Construction will begin sometime next year

Officials are hoping that the $40 million Southern Illinois Research Park can begin construction next year, a goal that became closer to reality after U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello recently announced a $200,000 grant for the project.

The Southern Illinois Research Park is aimed at combining research with outside companies and collaborating with the University, said Kyle Harfst, assistant director of the research park.

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When completed, the park will have 12 buildings with about 75 businesses that are involved, Harfst said.

Dollars from the grant will be used to construct a building adjacent to the University’s Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center on Pleasant Hill Road.

Groundbreaking for the project took place on Nov. 26, and construction workers installed an entrance sign crowned by a glass pyramid. The project is expected to take several years to complete.

The funding Costello secured is part of more that $6.8 million in grants and loans that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Rural Development is using to aid economic development in 32 states.

Costello, a senior member of the House Science Committee, is a strong supporter of using the University’s research capabilities to further the area’s economy, said David Gillies, Costello’s spokesman.

“He fully believes in the research vision of the University and how that is going to help form the local economy,” he said. “It’s a win for everybody.”

Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, agreed, saying that it’s important for SIUC to maintain its research capabilities while aiding the local economy.

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“If we don’t, we end up being left behind by the other states,” he said.

Reporter Ben Botkin can be reached at [email protected]

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