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Our View: Thumbs up to Clarke Group to moving to St. Charles

Published: Saturday, July 20, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

St. Charles is getting a new tenant.

Clarke Group, a mosquito control company, is expected to move its headquarters to 675 Sidwell Court by the end of the year or early next year. It is the first beneficiary of a pilot program, approved Monday by the City Council, that’s designed to attract high-technology businesses and encourage the employment of local workers.

Under the agreement, the city will provide up to $275,000 over five years – with the money coming from the city’s general fund – to Clarke Group. The city will provide a set level of funding, declining annually during the five year-agreement, if the company creates a certain number of jobs with an annual salary of $50,000 or greater.

Additional monetary incentives would be paid if the company hires local residents or interns.

The company anticipates creating 71 new jobs with an average salary of $80,000, and 15 additional jobs with an average salary of $60,000 likely will come within the next five years. Clarke also plans to pour $4 million in capital improvements into the property.

Attracting new businesses to St. Charles, with a focus on hiring local people, benefits all area residents. An impact study from Northern Illinois University’s Center for Governmental Studies showed Clarke would generate an estimated $28.1 million annually in economic activity in the local region.

We welcome Clarke to the community and hope others follow its lead in locating their companies in the Tri-Cities.

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