AMAZON TO OPEN TWO FULFILLMENT CENTERS IN SOUTH SUBURBS — Tech giant Amazon will open two fulfillment centers in south suburban Markham and Matteson, Gov. JB Pritzker announced along with local officials on Monday. The pair of centers — set to be fully open by the 2021 holiday season — will be the 12th and 13th Amazon fulfillment centers in Illinois and leaders claimed they would provide 2,000 permanent jobs for south suburban residents, in addition to short-term construction jobs to build the massive warehouses, which Amazon officials said would house state-of-the-art robotics technology to work alongside human employees. Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle said she was “hopeful” that the company’s investment “will provide a much-needed boost to the local economy.” But local leaders from U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) to State Sens. Mike Hastings (D-Tinley Park) and Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey) used Monday’s announcement to put pressure on leaders to push forward with an airport in Peotone — a project first proposed decades ago. “Gov. Pritzker, I’m calling on you to come and help support us in our efforts in securing the third airport here in the great state of Illinois,” Harris said. Pritzker noted the state’s $45 billion infrastructure plan passed last year allocated millions to surrounding infrastructure that would be needed to run a third major airport in the region, but said the state would need input from industry leaders like Amazon on whether the airport is actually needed. “There are people at Amazon that certainly will be an important part of the decision-making about whether companies like Amazon will want to move their cargo operations to an airport like Peotone,” Pritzker said. (Hannah Meisel)

ARLINGTON RACE DATES FINALLY SET — Thoroughbred horse racing will finally begin at Arlington International Racecourse next month after weeks of tense negotiations ended over the weekend, resulting in a truncated horse racing schedule at Arlington weeks behind Illinois’ two other racetracks. The Illinois Racing Board approved Arlington’s shortened schedule on Monday morning after negotiations broke down late last week as representatives from Arlington and the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association shot accusations back and forth in front of the board at its regularly scheduled Thursday meeting, which was then stretched into Friday and finally Monday as board officials attempted to help shepherd negotiations to a close. Illinois’ thoroughbred horse racing season typically begins on May 1 but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, long-simmering tensions between Arlington and Illinois’ thoroughbred horse racing industry further delayed a contract deal, even as spectator-free racing began at Hawthorne Racecourse in Cicero and Fairmount Park in Collinsville in early June. Arlington’s race season will begin on July 23 and end Sept. 26. (Meisel)

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