Aging infrastructure could be an issue as Herrin grows

After losing 1,500 jobs, 1,300 people have moved into the city of Herrin, Illinois, in the past decade, straining the city’s infrastructure.

For 10 years it’s been nothing but bad news for local workers, according to Herrin Mayor Steve Frattini.

“The coal industry slow-down hurt the whole region,” Frattini said. “We’ve had to absorb that, and we’ve had some major manufacturing move-outs from the area.”

With a willing and able workforce, Frattini is selling interested companies on the city.

“We have the interstate facilities nearby,” Frattini said. “We’re fortune as a community. We own our own short line railroad, so we can move cars in and out. We’ve got three really good industrial sites.”

With two of those sites sold Herrin appears to be on the rebound, but both Frattini and City Engineer Tom Summers say rapid growth could put severe strain on the city’s aging infrastructure.

“It’s very difficult to keep up, to keep up with our needs,” Summers said. “It’s hard to quantify it in terms of money spent annually, but it’s several million dollars.”

“It’s very important because we don’t want businesses to come to town and two, three, five, six, 10 years later decide ‘This isn’t for us,’” Frattini said.

That’s forcing Frattini and Summers to get creative while possibly losing more than $610,000 in state funding.

Frattini says he hopes the old Maytag plant and the Container Stapling factory, which were both recently sold, will be up and running again within a year and providing jobs for the local economy.

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