An effort to boost the economy of Cairo is moving forward as we start the New Year.
The Cairo Public Utility Company says the Rauner Family Foundation - a philanthropic vehicle for Governor Bruce Rauner and his wife Diana - helped kickstart the project with a 100-thousand dollar donation.
State and federal elected officials proposed the idea last May. That was soon after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said it was closing two public housing complexes in Cairo.
State Senator Dale Fowler of Harrisburg said the port district project is a chance to take advantage of Cairo's unique location at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.
"There are already companies that have said, 'you build it, we will come.' It's going to take time. But, we have time and we're going to continue to exhaust every available option to build this city, create some jobs, because there is opportunity that lies here in the City of Cairo that does not exist in the entire nation."
The utility company says the Port District plans to start meeting with companies right away.
An effort is also underway to secure private donations for the project.