Belvidere Off To Best Economic Start Since ‘Great Recession’

4 Aug 2016

By Bob Balgemann, Reporter at the Daily Republican


Jarid Funderburg, Growth Dimensions Executive Director, had plenty of good things to say about the economy in the City of Belvidere. Growth Dimensions is the marketing arm of the county and its municipalities.

Funderburg told the city committee of the whole Monday, July 25 that things were off to their best start since 2008, and he was expecting more of the same.

Here are some of the points he made:

Evac North America Inc., located between Belvidere and Cherry Valley, decided to stay in Boone County. This is a waste water and treatment company.

General Mills is embarking on a $60-million expansion.

“They chose Belvidere because of its work force and location,” he said, which is good for Belvidere compared to two other cities where General Mills closed plants.

Belvidere ranks No. 6 in the state among cities under 25,000 as a place to start and do business. Taxes and government are among the criteria used when making those selections, Funderburg said.

“It’s a feather we can all put in our caps,” he said. “There has been more activity in business, retail, and professional services.”

A new 12-acre light industrial park is in the works in the Village of Poplar Grove.

Funderburg said the agency categorizes projects in four phases: proposed, started, completed, and terminated. The latter means it never got off the ground. Right now, he said staff is working on 11 projects as follows:

The investment among four proposals totals $73 million with 550 to 600 new jobs and 382,000 square feet of taxable space.

Numbers related to those listed as being “started” are an investment of $390.5 million, 850 to 880 new jobs and 350,000 square feet of space.

Under the heading of “completed” is a total investment of $62 million, 50 new jobs, and 75,000 square feet of space.

He termed those numbers “outstanding for our community, for any community. We should be very excited and thankful that this has landed here. I have to give my praise and thanks to everybody at city hall, from public works to the city attorney, mayor, [City Clerk] Shauna [Arco], [Budget and Finance Director] Becky [Tobin], and [Community Planner] Gina [DelRose]. Those who call find a very workable city hall. Belvidere-Boone County is off to its best [economic] start since the Great Recession.”

There only was one question, which had to do with interest in the now vacant Kmart building.

Funderburg replied that Mayor Mike Chamberlain would be “more aware of the retail side than I am.

“It’s a prime retail location, that’s for sure,” Funderburg said.