But Stephenson County leaders have been planting the seeds for six years. Now the corn stalks are coming down to make way for a major business and job boost.
Stephenson County officials are finally digging in to the Mill Race Industrial Park. U.S Representative Don Manzullo says, "It's a $95 million investment to the community to create 2,000 jobs."
To give you an idea of where this all is located we're pretty much right behind Titan Tire with Springfield Road bordering the development to the west. Right now a bio-diesel plant and Trim-Rite. This will be the alternative energy corridor. TIF or Tax Increment Financing is going to be this area's fertilizer. Most of the money for improvements are generated by businesses attracted to the benefits. State leaders had to approve special legislation to put a TIF in heart of farmland.
89th District State Representative Jim Sacia(R) says, "This was specifically created for Stephenson County but others might piggy back."
The only glitch so far is that neither Trim-Rite or Blackhawk Bio-Fuels has committed to the land. Freeport Area Economic Development Foundation Executive Director says, "Neither is signing on the dotted line but we are getting very close to signing on the dotted line."
At least 2 other companies have also expressed interest. A total transformation of the land is expected to be complete late 2007 - early 2008. $250,000 is still waiting to be cleared by the Senate and President Bush. That money will help improve the roads around the Industrial Park. All roads need to be able to withstand 80,000 pounds.