West Chicago —A newly released independent economic impact study of the DuPage Airport shows the general aviation facility brings broad economic benefits to DuPage County and metropolitan Chicago, pumping $117 million into the local economy in 2012 and creating nearly 1,000 jobs for area residents.
The study, conducted by the Deerfield-based Gruen Gruen + Associates, found a total direct economic impact of $69 million for 2012 in expenditures made at the DuPage Airport Authority, including the DuPage Flight Center, Prairie Landing Golf Club, DuPage Business Center, and on-site businesses. The indirect impact of airport-related expenditures is $48 million, bringing total local impact to $117 million.
“This study demonstrates that DuPage Airport serves as major economic engine for local development,” says DuPage Airport Executive Director David Bird. “Despite the recession, the airport weathered the storm, creating jobs for our residents and bringing new industry to the region. We’re confident this trend will continue into the future.”
The total direct and indirect income impact on DuPage County is estimated at $45.5 million, or approximately $47,000 per job. Airport income directly supports 963 jobs in DuPage County, including 666 directly employed and 297 airport-related jobs. The report notes that “for every 10 directly-supported jobs, an additional 4.5 jobs are supported indirectly within the County; and for every $10 in direct income, an additional $5.80 is created indirectly.”
Bird says that while the recession impacted the development of the Business Center, the DuPage Airport Authority has instituted “transformative changes” to strengthen its economic position. Formerly known as the DuPage National Technology Park, the Authority renamed the site The DuPage Business Center, broadening its purpose to allow for greater potential uses of the property. With recent approval from the FAA, the Authority can now offer potential users the opportunity to lease or own land parcels; while a renegotiated agreement with developer Center Point Properties extends the partnership to 2017.
According to the study, DuPage Airport will contribute $1.34 million in property taxes, sales taxes and other revenue to DuPage County in 2012. Local school districts will receive more than 70 percent or $445,000 of 2012 property tax revenues, and local park and library districts will receive approximately 9.2 percent or an estimated $58,000.
The study’s findings echo the sentiments of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who celebrated the Airport as an “economic engine” and “model for the nation” during a visit last year.