Tomato grower expanding

ROCHELLE — Officials in Rochelle are taking steps to expand the electrical distribution to meet the needs of a MightyVine expansion. 

The tomato grower recently announced plans to construct two more 7.5-acre greenhouses at a cost of $17 million. 

The expansion is expected to create at least 60 jobs.

A public hearing was held before the start of the regular meeting to discuss the city’s intent to apply for an economic grant from the Illinois Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity from the state’s Community Development Block Grant. 

The grant funding would help with the electrical infrastructure including poles and conductors to support the expansion.

“The total amount of CDBG funds to be requested is $900,000,” Jeff Fiegenschuh, City Manager said. “The amount of CDBG funds proposed to be used for activities that will benefit low-to-moderate income persons is $459,000. The City of Rochelle also proposed to expend $2.1 million in non-CDGB funds on the project.”

Jason Bird, Supt. of Electric Operations, said in order to apply for the grant, the city would need to commit $2.1 million from the Rochelle Municipal Utilities Electric Fund for use in conjunction with the CDBG program. The total cost of the project is estimated at $3 million.

“These particular grants are very important to those types of operations as well as the needs of our communities,” Rochelle Mayor Chet Olson said. “The expansion doubles the EAV out there, which generates revenues for our taxing bodies, mainly being the schools. It’s also going to tremendously increase our use of power and that helps get us into that lower power cost, which is important. If we can get our power cheaper, we can realize those savings back to the consumer.”

Other business

City council approved an ordinance amending the municipal code to create two liquor license classifications for the distillery. The Class M-1 license allows the manufacture of beer products on the premises and the retail sale of alcoholic liquor, which includes the manufactured beer products for on-site consumption. 

The Class M-2 license allows the on-site production and storage of alcoholic liquor, specifically including spirits, sale by the bottle for consumption off of the premises or in a tasting area or retail outlet. 


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