Well, it looks like we are close to those cold days of winter in Northern Illinois, with a lot of activity in the “Hub City.” This last week was a very exciting week with a long-awaited groundbreaking on the new transload/intermodal yard on Steward Road. Three and a half years ago, when I was first elected mayor, we received word that Global lll was going to go “idle,” which I now know was a polite way of saying that they were shutting down.
That closure had devastating effects on many business owners, not only locally, but in the Northern Illinois region. When I was asked by the media at that time, “What will the impact be regarding the closure of Global lll?” – My response was, “This will be a huge impact on not only our local industries that depend on container shipping, but regionally in the Northern Illinois area. I further stated that we would do everything in our power to get another intermodal facility open in Rochelle.”
Well, as I said, that was three and a half years ago, and to see this project come to fruition today, makes me very proud to say the least, as this project represents a public/private partnership that is truly in the best interest of the Northern Illinois region. This is truly a monumental milestone for this area relative to the shipping business. That happened, because of many dedicated people. First, of all, it took dedication, persistence and creativity on the part of our City Manager Jeff Fiegenschuh, the city building department, the city engineer & their staff, as well as the staff within our economic development division, Jason Anderson & Peggy Friday. It also took the cooperation and leadership efforts from the Greater Rochelle Economic Development Organization, known as GREDCO. Another important partner that helped move the project forward is the Burlington Junction Railway, who operates the City of Rochelle railroad. As the pieces of the project started coming together, it was Rochelle City Attorney Dominick Lanzito and GREDCO Attorney Gary Gehlbach who worked together cooperatively, to bring the agreements together to ensure operational success.
This project ultimately came together due to the support and vision of our city council as a whole. I would like to publicly thank Council Members Rosie Arteaga, Kate Shaw Dickey, Dan McDermott, John Gruben, Tom McDermott and Bil Hayes. There have been many projects proposed and implemented over the past few years for the betterment of our community. These very projects would not have proceeded without a positive and forward-thinking city council, like the one we have today.
Last Veterans Day, we were able to have two celebrations. The first at Rochelle Township High School for the veterans breakfast, followed by the official Veterans Day ceremony at the war memorial at Lawnridge Cemetery.
Many thanks go out to all the veterans. To make all this come together, it took the work of many, including RTHS Superintendent Jason Harper and his staff, The local American Legion, VFW Post 3878 and Roberts Armory for helping put these events together in honor of our veterans that have given so much for our freedom.
Finally, remember to mark your calendars for Dec. 2 for the official start of the Christmas holiday with the lighted Christmas parade, specials in many of our downtown businesses, lighting of the tree by Santa, and the Rochelle Gratitude Award presentation. There will be much to do for all. Until the next time, may I say I hope everyone has a blessed Thanksgiving holiday, and take time to enjoy family, friends and reflect on so much that we all can be thankful for.
Remember: “All you need is the plan, the road map and the courage to press on to your destination.”
John Bearrows is the mayor of the City of Rochelle.