Stephenson County Rezoning Vote

By: Brad Broders
By: Brad Broders

On the Freeport fields where corn plants the area's agriculture seed could soon land the root of a business and jobs boom.

"Once we get one company here they're going to see the advantages of Freeport, how the government works together and how we are going to develop this industrial park, and the advantages of both location and the city workers here," Freeport mayoral candidate George Gaulrapp said.

The vote to rezone land off Lamm Road from agriculture to manufacturing could open the door to as many as 2,000 jobs. Freeport's two mayoral candidates, Pat Leitzen Fye and George Gaulrapp, both sympathize with residents nearby the site, but say the project would provide the area with a wealth of good paying, strong benefit employment.

"We have to balance private property rights and 'not in my backyard syndrome' with the growth of the community, and growth at this point is essential," Freeport mayoral candidate Pat Leitzen Fye said.

Trim-Rite, the pork processing plant that considered locating in Rockford last year, is rumored as a possibility to locate on the land. Gaulrapp, on Freeport's City Council, says while the city has a good opportunity to land Trim-Rite, several county hurdles remain.

"This is one of the most important parts of this election is keeping and maintaining these relationships and getting more opportunities down the line. Opportunities do arise, but we have to create our own opportunities also," Gaulrapp said.

And after combined efforts from the city and county have potential businesses in place, Freeport's mayoral candidates promise if elected they'll continue the hard work to reap big job rewards.

"Part of my plan is to really enhance those relationships and make sure the city is prepared when the County and Economic Development Foundation, doing the good work that they've been doing, the city's prepared to step up and make that happen," Fye said.

Potential huge job happenings are dependent on one county zoning vote.


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