Area's leaders look for growth in 2019

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  • Luther

  • 1

    Adams

  • 2

    Sanders

  • 3

    Wright

  • 4

    Rehl

  • Luther

  • 1

    Adams

  • 2

    Sanders

  • 3

    Wright

  • 4

    Rehl

BELOIT - Local municipal leaders have their own New Year's Resolutions, mostly involving growth they want to see in the Stateline Area next year.

Leaders from the City of Beloit, Town of Beloit, South Beloit, Rockton and Roscoe are all looking for progress in 2019.

Beloit City Manager Lori Curtis Luther said municipal officials remain committed to supporting Ho-Chunk Nation's Beloit casino-resort proposal. The Bureau of Indian Affairs is currently reviewing the proposal and is expected to rule on the plan next year.

Luther said the city also will be actively working toward the goals outlined in the 2018-2020 strategic plan. Some of the projects include planned housing improvements in the city's Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Areas (NRSA) and investments to the community's infrastructure.

"Our goal for 2019 is to continue to provide a high level of quality public service for all residents," Luther said. "I am certainly proud of the work we accomplished this year, and I look forward to seeing positive enhancements that will make Beloit an even stronger community next year."

In the Town of Beloit, interim administrator Gene Wright said the town's biggest decision right now is deciding what to do about incorporation. Earlier this month, the state blocked the town's bid to incorporate into the Village of Riverside with the recommendation the town submit an amended petition. The Incorporation Review Board's findings state that the Department of Administration will waive the incorporation review fee for an amended petition if one is filed within a year. The town board will make a decision on its path forward at its Jan. 7 meeting.

Over the border in South Beloit, Mayor Ted Rehl said the city's priority is increasing revenues.

"The more revenue you find the easier it is to spend it, especially in South Beloit," Rehl said.

The biggest priority is completing the South Beloit Waste Water Treatment Plant, which has hit some snags. Back in October, 31 barrels were found by the wastewater treatment plant. South Beloit officials are working with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA). The sewer plant, at 100 Perry Ave., is undergoing a $34 million expansion and upgrade project. A groundbreaking ceremony was held in June.

South Beloit officials also would like to address street maintenance. He said the repairs have been deferred over the years.

"Our streets are woefully torn up in places. We're working to fix that up," Rehl said.

He also would like to address the South Beloit City Council's election process. With it's commission form of government, the mayoral seat and all four commissioners are all up for election every four years.

"The problem with that is you lose continuity," Rehl said.

For example, if all of the incumbents were to lose in the election, the council would completely change.

Rehl would like to explore having different council members be elected for two and four-year terms by 2023 so the entire council won't be up for election at the same time in the future. He's hoping to have the council explore either state legislation to change the government structure or possibly moving toward a different form of government.

He's proud of work South Beloit officials, residents and business owners have done over the last few years.

"We've seen glimpses in the last 8 years that the city is beginning to recover from 2008," Rehl said. "Though it might be a little slower than the rest of the county, we believe that it may be South Beloit's time. We've become more attractive to businesses and residents as we have became more business-friendly."

In Rockton, Village President Dale Adams said he's hoping the community will have a happy and prosperous year. Currently, village officials are working on attracting more retail businesses to have a greater tax base. One of the biggest priorities is to build a hotel in Rockton.

Adams said the village has been speaking with numerous hotel chains who are interested in building in Rockton. Village officials have been interested in building a hotel in downtown Rockton. However, Adams said hotel groups are more interested in building near the highway and the Walmart. If the casino is built in Beloit, Adams said having a hotel just south of the border might be beneficial to have extra rooms. Eventually, Adams said village officials would like to see a downtown hotel.

"We definitely hope to have a hotel under construction in 2019," Adams said.

Adams also would like to address deteriorating roads and developing a signage program to help residents and visitors locate municipal lots and local attractions.

In Roscoe, village administrator Scott Sanders said officials also are looking into funding sources to repair deteriorating residential roads.

He said the village was able to shift $700,000 of funds for road repairs this year.

Also, with Village President David Krienke deciding not to run and the possibility of new trustees joining the board, Sanders said the transition will mean a fresh perspective on the village's future, including future development.

He said the village is continuing to focus on what he calls the "economic boom" the village is experiencing in the area surrounding Rockton and Willowbrook roads.

"We would like to continue having more commercial development in that area, even possibly expanding into having light industrial spaces," Sanders said.

He said having light industrial companies come to the area will create jobs and bring in more revenue to the village.

In addition to further developing this area near Highway 251, a long term goal of his is to revitalize and increase the occupancy of existing retail centers to create a more vibrant downtown area.

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