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MATTOON -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois plans to move its Mattoon service center to a new, larger location on the east end of town in 2020.

The company officially announced its plans Tuesday evening after the Mattoon City Council voted to apply for a $1.2 million state Community Development Block Grant to help fund water/sewer line and street work for the development of this service center in the Coles Centre business park at the southwest corner of Illinois Route 16 and Lerna Road.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois spokeswoman Colleen Miller said after Tuesday's meeting that the company is committed to expanding access to quality, cost-effective health care to as many communities as possible in Illinois.

"We’ve been proud to call Mattoon home to one of our service centers since 1990. We are now partnering with a local developer to modernize our presence in the community," Miller said. "We expect to open an updated service center in mid-2020. The decision to further invest in Mattoon demonstrates our commitment to supporting and empowering our local communities."

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Miller added later that Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans to move all of its operations from the current service center, which is in a former supermarket building at 1100 Broadway Ave., to the newly constructed facility.

Agracel, Inc. of Effingham, which provides economic development services, owns the property where the new service center would be built. Agracel President Dean Bingham said Tuesday afternoon that the plans call for the construction of a two-story, 50,000-square-foot building that could accommodate more than 250 employees.

The Coles County Regional Planning & Development Commission is helping the city apply for the $1.2 million grant from the state. Commission Executive Director Kelly Lockhart said during Tuesday's council meeting that the service center project would create at least 48 new jobs.

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Contact Rob Stroud at (217) 238-6861. Follow him on Twitter: @TheRobStroud

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Rob Stroud is a reporter for the JG-TC, covering the city of Mattoon, Lake Land College, Cumberland County and areas including Oakland, Casey and Martinsville.

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