City council: Ordinance to allow for MightyVine upgrades approved

At its meeting Monday, the Rochelle City Council unanimously approved an ordinance to create an Illinois Finance Authority PACE area to allow for MightyVine to get financing for clean energy upgrades to its hydroponic greenhouse business.

Engineering services for city’s south side building upgrades approved

ROCHELLE — At its meeting Monday, the Rochelle City Council unanimously approved an ordinance to create an Illinois Finance Authority PACE area to allow for MightyVine to get financing for clean energy upgrades to its hydroponic greenhouse business.

Through no cost to the city, the IFA PACE Program is available to any eligible commercial property that voluntarily requests the levy of a special assessment to secure the financing or refinancing of a qualified PACE Project.

MightyVine CEO Sergio Gomez spoke during the meeting and thanked the city for its support since the business’s inception in 2016.

“They've guided us through our start up as we continued to evolve through these interesting times,” Gomez said. “The project is important to us as we continue to expand and the goal for our business is to be sophisticated and well versed in technology in this industry. This money will allow us to put lights in our fourth greenhouse, save money to help improve the business overall and get us looking forward to expansion and other opportunities we want to do. The money is very inexpensive for us and will help us grow in the long term.”

MightyVine currently has 88 employees and the improvements could add 15-20 additional jobs.

“It's a great project,” City Manager Jeff Fiegenschuh said. “I've been a part of working with MightyVine for almost six years. Anything we can do to help them become more energy efficient is good for their bottom line and it's good for us, too because of where we are with our peak load on our power system.”

Engineering

The council unanimously approved an engineering/architectural services agreement with Willett, Hofmann & Associates for phase two of its improvements to Rochelle Municipal Utilities’ building at 1030 S. 7th St. The building was previously Johnson Tractor’s old location and was purchased by the city in recent years.

The engineering work will cost $158,500. Improvements will primarily include an interior addition to accommodate new breakrooms, locker rooms, bathrooms, showers and training facilities along with additional storage and interior office renovations and other related improvements. The work also includes developing more accurate cost estimates as the project develops. The total budgeted amount for the project is $900,000.

"They've made great strides on that building,” Mayor John Bearrows said. “They did an amazing job on the first phase. It's really nice.”

Parking

The council unanimously amended an ordinance that will now allow for parking on First Avenue between Sixth Street and Jack Dame Road. 

Traffic on First Avenue has been “greatly reduced” as it no longer connects to Illinois Route 38, and no longer is a designated truck route Between Sixth Street and Jack Dame Road. With the reduction in traffic, city officials said there are no longer concerns with cars parking on the street and vehicles exiting driveways.

GIS

City GIS Coordinator Casey Heuer made a presentation regarding the city's new economic development experience builder and job board after her work on it. City employers will now be able to post job openings on the site. It can be found at Rochellejobs.com.

Good News

Fiegenschuh presented three Good News awards to staff for recent projects. The first Good News award was presented to Industrial Development Manager Peggy Friday and Finance Director Chris Cardott for their work on receiving the Government Finance Officers Association Distinguished Budget Award for the third year in a row.

The second award was presented to Adam Lanning and Jay Mulholland of RMU for their work on Illinois Department of Public Health perfect compliance in the water department. A Good News award was also presented to Rochelle Police Department Officer Trevor Owen and Chief Eric Higby after the department's recent fundraiser event for a new K9 dog raised $9,000.