DURAND (WIFR) – A small Stateline town is dreaming big tonight. The Village of Durand reveals a plan aimed at revitalizing its downtown area among other things and some of the town’s residents say change is needed.
Residents of Durand were all ears as speakers presented what's being called the Durand Action Plan. They packed the high school gym eager to hear about their small town's future.
"People come…people go,” said Karen Oksnevad. “There are a lot of people that have been here for as long as I have and even longer."
The plan's goal is to turn the small town into a vibrant and attractive place that people from all over will want to visit by beautifying the downtown area and hosting more events to bring the crows in.
"The town has kind of become a little run down,” said Sheila Hoffman. “We are proud of where we live."
Locals say economic times have gotten hard and a fresher look can help things out. Village President Gary Haughton agrees and says his town really needs the facelift.
"That's typical of most small towns,” Haughton said. “Business districts have dwindled...and we're just looking for a way to revitalize them."
Gisele Hamm is with the Illinois Institute of Rural Affairs and says for this plan to work the community is going to have to bring in ideas and volunteer their time.
"We have been really surprised by the level of enthusiasm and engagement we've seen in Durand,” said Hamm. “We feel there's a lot of potential here."
Some say they're looking forward to seeing this plan come to life.
"I'm just excited about things to change,” said Cathy Rothermel. “It has been going downhill for a while, but it's looking good. We need people to volunteer and to be positive."
Village President Gary Haughton told the crowd they're going to need some money to get the plan going but he didn't say exactly how much or where they'll get it. Haughton did say he hopes some will come in the form of grants.