The Fallout of Failing to Bring Trim-Rite to Winnebago County

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Trim-Rite officials came to Rockford and Winnebago County last year wanting no other place to add jobs to the area's reeling industrial sector, but seven months after being the front-runner, Rockford and Winnebago County now stand as the biggest losers.

"I think it's devastating for county and city because when you have a company come to Rockford and Winnebago County, and basically gives us jobs on a silver platter, and you don't end up with the jobs, it's disappointing," Olson said.

But Trim-Rite's momentum quickly slowed down this fall after the pork processing plant proposed to set up shop off of Bypass 20 and Montague Road. An ensuing outcry from West Side residents led Trim-Rite leaders to look elsewhere.

Both Rockford and Winnebago County leaders continued to meet with owner Jim Jendruczek, efforts Olson said differed greatly.

"The county has delivered every step of the way as far as what they said they would deliver, and the city to date has not given anything in writing at all and not performed at all. We are very disappointed in the mayor's office," Olson said.

In a statement released Saturday, Rockford Mayor Doug Scott says, "We met several times with Mr. Jendruczek, looked at possible sites, secured the property and offered a package to meet the financial requests of the company."

Scott also says, "The land secured for Trim-Rite can now be used for other industrial development."

However, with Freeport emerging as one of three possible Trim-Rite sites, Olson is discouraged to know that hundreds of jobs and tax revenues could soon pass right through our backyard.

"It's very disappointing, and most of the hogs that are going to be slaughtered in Freeport are going to come right through Rockford because the majority of hogs are in DeKalb, Illinois, so we are going to see all these trucks go by and not stop in Rockford to spend money.

It’s a job opportunity that's heading elsewhere, possibly as close as Stephenson County.