As we move into spring and summer, everyone is adjusting to many changes that have become the new normal. Rochelle is “on the grow” as usual.
There are many projects in the planning stages, with several to be announced soon. The daycare center has been one of our primary focuses, amongst dealing with the potential legislative premature closing of the Prairie State Energy Campus, which the City of Rochelle is a part owner.
The former daycare center closed its doors in about March of 2020, and as a result, many of our workforce citizens are without a much-needed part of the puzzle to get back to work. This is an extremely critical issue to our community, and we are working extremely hard to get another opened as best we can.
The premature closure of Prairie State will also place some serious adverse impacts on our local area. Through several in-person, Zoom testimony, conference calls and letters to our senators and representatives, we have tried to explain the huge negative impact on not only our community, but the region.
The meetings showing opposition are still ongoing as of the time of this update. We will not give up!
The razing of Hickory Grove is also closer on the horizon, with a hopeful target date of late October or November to begin the demolition process. We have had several express interests in the “shovel ready” site once we reach that point.
The city manager and city council will meet to determine not only the best proposal relative to price, but the best fit for the community.
The Rochelle Municipal Utilities Shop Local program has been amended to continue through the end of July as it is today. After that, it will return to a cap of three applications per household, just as it was in the beginning.
That program, I honestly believe has helped save many of our small businesses as we moved through the pandemic. That program, as well as many others, could not be done without the dedicated support of our city council, which has been extremely supportive of many programs that helped get all of us to the point we are at today.
Earlier in the month of June, we did a ribbon cutting on two major projects. First, a $14 million electrical substation that will be completed without any debt. This substation will allow for not only growth and development of new businesses, but better, sustainable power to existing customers.
The other major project was the ribbon cutting on our newly-redeveloped anaerobic lagoon at the wastewater treatment plant. This was a low interest loan of $7 million, with $2.1 million being forgiven. This too will allow for better service to our customers, and room for expansion and future growth.
As the mayor of Rochelle, I couldn’t be more proud of everyone in all of the departments that every day work towards the betterment of our community and improve upon the services offered.
You have heard it before, but I will say it again, “Team Rochelle” is a winning team in a winning community. Until next time, remember our new tagline, “Rochelle IL – The Community of Opportunity.”
John Bearrows is the Mayor of Rochelle.