City officials really wanted Caterpillar to choose Naperville as its global headquarters, but when the dust settled, Deerfield was the choice. Naperville came in somewhere between second and last place, again confirming that if you’re not first, you’re as good as last.
This must have been a bitter pill for Naperville city officials to swallow, considering that just this month, Naperville was chosen as the second best city in which to live. Last Wednesday Caterpillar released a news announcement stating Deerfield ‘gives our employees many options to live in either an urban or suburban environment’. Isn’t that what the second best city in the country also offers?
The announcement went on to state, ‘Deerfield was chosen because of it is approximately a 20-minute drive to O’Hare and convenient to Chicago via commuter train’. Naperville is also convenient to Chicago via commuter train, and it’s only a 35 minute drive to O’Hare (25 miles versus 16 miles from Deerfield). Is that 9 mile and 15 minute difference really the determining factor. Seems unlikely, and if it is, then why wouldn’t Caterpillar choose Mt. Prospect, Des Plaines, or Park Ridge, all of which are closer to O’Hare than Deerfield, and available to Chicago via train.
It is possible that Deerfield put a full court press on Caterpillar showing the ‘love’ that Naperville didn’t show. One of the problems in being chosen the second best city to live in, is complacency, resting on it laurels.
Naperville provided Caterpillar with an information folder highlighting the advantages that Naperville has to offer, as if Caterpillar is like a family owned bakery, Caterpillar is not a family owned bakery, and maybe Naperville city officials should have elevated its game and proven to Caterpillar that Naperville is working hard and smart to become the best city in which to live and work, and why Naperville is the better choice for companies to call home.
At a recent Naperville city council meeting, city officials went all-out by placing little replicas of Caterpillar equipment on the dais.
The little tiny one was placed in front of Naperville city manager, Doug Krieger; definitely not worthy of Krieger’s position, or of Caterpillar’s size.
Maybe what Naperville city officials could have done to emphasize its desire to be the home for Caterpillar would have been to do what former Mayor Pradel did to a Naperville building that he didn’t like,
except in this case the mayor and council members could have beat the livin’ daylights out of a small John Deere tractor. If you’re going to come in second or last place, you might was well make it memorable and do it with gusto.
Funny how this article missed the Patel Brothers announcement, you know the national Indian Market that is moving into the old Menard (previously Old K-Mart) location, which has been vacant for over a decade. But then again perhaps the Watchdog isn’t as “welcoming” as it claims to be since it had no problem talking about Mariano’s and Fresh Thymes when they moved to Naperville.
Those 15 minutes are not the whole story. First that 15 minutes does not include how long it take to get to the trains station, which is at least 15 minutes and up to 45 minutes during rush hour traffic from south Naperville. And once you get to the train station you still have to find a place to park. These are all problems well know to all of us that the city council and staff are working to improve, but for the present are fact of Naperville life.
While the demographics of both cities are similar there are some major differences. The fact is Naperville has over 6 times the population of Deerfield and 7 time the land area, which means more traffic and a greater distances to the trains station (up to 7 miles in Naperville compared to 1.5 in Deerfield) as well as the interstate to O’Hare (up to 8 miles in Naperville and less than a 1 mile in Deerfield).
Deerfield is also just west of Highland Park, another small prosperous community with a train station and easy highway access to O’Hare that some of Caterpillars employees may choose to live in other than Deerfield. Naperville does not have a comparable neighboring community.
Since we are speculating on the “real reasons” Caterpillar chose Deerfield over Naperville these reasons are as good as any others and have nothing to do with the city’s ranking as well as the city’s commitment to, or degree of effort put into getting Caterpillar to move here.
I agree with Jim H’s assessment but there is an additional negative for Naperville — TRAFFIC is horrible at times . City Fathers have done very little to minimize the congestion .