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About Rantoul, Illinois

Coordinates: 40°18?17?N 88°09?07?W? / ?40.30472°N 88.15194°W? / 40.30472; -88.15194For the Illinois village previously known as Rantoul see Alma, IllinoisRantoul is a village in Champaign County, Illinois, United States. The population was 13,674 at the 2010 census. The present mayor is Neal Williams, who was re-elected in 2009. The community was named after Robert Rantoul, director of the Illinois Central Railroad.In 1917, Rantoul was chosen by the United States Army to be the site of Chanute Field, due to its proximity to the Illinois Central railroad and the War Department?s ground school at the University of Illinois. In the 1930s, Chanute Field grew, dominating the local economy as thousands of airmen were stationed there to train recruits. Renamed Chanute Air Force Base after World War II, it was closed in 1993, but was partly reoccupied by the Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum and the Rantoul National Aviation Center. Rantoul's economy has taken a sharp decline due to the base's closing, from which is has never recovered. The book "Eye of the Storm: Chanute Closes" by Katy B. Podagrosi tells the story of this period.The major employers in Rantoul are C.I. Telecom, JELD-WEN, Bell Sports, Combe Laboratories, Eagle Wings Ind., Conair Corporation, Microfilm Service, AT&T, and Pactuco.

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