City Prepares for New Mayor, New Chapter for a Community

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On Monday night, George Gaulrapp becomes mayor of Freeport, taking over a city in desperate need of a new jolt and new jobs.

"It's a little scary. It wouldn't be normal if I wasn't a little nervous, but I'm excited," Gaulrapp said.

Leading Gaulrapp's agenda is luring new business to Freeport, specifically on the land at the Mill Race crossing industrial park. Freeport and Stephenson County are finalizing an intergovernmental agreement on the site, which Gaulrapp believes will equal hundreds of future jobs, likely including those at the hog processing center Trim-Rite.

"We're on the cusp of making things happen. It really lies in the county board's hands now with their public meeting. That has to get taken care of. We have to make sure that we have the right press, we answer the right questions and answer the questions that are factual, not the rumors that always spread around," Gaulrapp said.

While citizens differed on city priorities, most agreed Gaulrapp's election infused a fresh energy and fresh possibilities.

"It's moving ahead. If business moves in, and we get jobs, we'll be happy. That's the main thing is jobs," Roosevelt Mazique said.

"I believe it's a new chapter for Freeport. He believes in a lot of things. It might be different from different from Mayor Gitz. Whatever he brings in will be a new era for the city of Freeport," Matt Todd said.

Gaulrapp admits while he feels pressure from city residents, he's ready and confident to deliver.

"They want a person who is going to make immediate impacts. Someone who is going to constantly move the city forward, bring jobs in, reduce crime, and above all, make this one community," Gaulrapp said.

One community Gaulrapp has four years to turn around.