2021 Year In Review
31 Jan 2022
As we reflect on 2021, we are encouraged by Boone County's fortitude. Our businesses, friends and neighbors have proved their resilience time and again to keep moving our county, region and state ahead, even through adversity.
Growth Dimensions Economic Development would like to take this chance to reflect on the positive impacts and opportunities over the past year; and, look at how we will continue to make Boone County, Illinois a great place to Live, Work & Play.
BUSINESS ACQUSITION & EXPANSION
In 2021, Growth Dimensions worked with 65 projects for either potential new businesses or businesses interested in increasing their footprint. These projects ranged from start-ups to multi-million-dollar capital investments. Regardless of the size and scope, each business is given the time and attention needed to make it a success.
ENTERPRISE ZONE ACTIVITY
New and existing businesses located within the Belvidere-Boone County Enterprise Zone can take advantage of incentives and benefits to build, renovate or expand their business facility.
During 2021, Growth Dimensions managed 60 Enterprise Zone Projects within Belvidere, Poplar Grove and the County, resulting in incentives provided to 13 local businesses. These projects brought $3,013,096 in construction costs and $6,637,485 in captial investments into Boone County.
REIMAGING ELECTRIC VEHICLES IN ILLINOIS
In Spring 2021, Growth Dimensions Economic Development developed a campaign for a call-to-action in Illinois. The organization initiated contact with the Illinois Governor's Office, state and national elected officials, the Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO), and Intersect Illinois. The overarching message was that it was imperative to competitively position Illinois to attract new industries, as well as reward businesses that have contributed to the State's Success.
With the support of Boone County, the City of Belvidere, local businesses & organizations, and partners across Illinois, our message was heard. Governor Pritzker commented to Pamela Lopez-Fettes, "I hear this all started with you."
On Thursday, October 28, 2021, the Illinois General Assembly approved the Reimagining Electric Vehicles in Illinois (REV) tax credit program. REV Illinois offers competitive incentives to expand in or relocate to Illinois for companies that manufacture Electric Vehicles (EV) or EV parts, as well as EV charging stations.
Boone County was honored to welcome Governor Pritzker, Illinois Legislative Representatives and other dignitaries, as they utilized the Rock Valley College Advanced Technology Center as a backdrop to sign the Reimagining Electric Vehicles Act into law, on Tuesday, November 16, 2021.
We look forward to continuing the work that has been done, as we reimagine EV, by working with our local municipalities, the State, our representatives, the DCEO an our local business partners to ensure we keep manufacturers right here in Illinois and show the work that Boone County and Illinois are, indeed, open for EV Business.
JOB MARKET & WORKFORCE
ROCK VALLEY COLLEGE ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY CENTER
In Summer 2020, Rock Valley College (RVC) chose Belvidere/Boone County as the location for their Advanced Technology Center (ATC). This $11 Million investment is the first physical presence RVC, or any higher education entity, has had in Boone County in decades.
Throughout 2021, the former Shopko bulding was transformed into a robust, cutting-edge educational facility. Their programming will advance the skills of our workforce to meet current and future needs of Boone County and regional employers. These programs wil include CNC machining, welding, mechatronics and industrial maintenance.
The ATC opened its doors for its first limited class schedule, in January 2022, with more than 200 students expected to begin classes in the coming year.
60 BY 25 NETWORK
Boone County, Illinois was designated as an Illinois 60 by 25 Network Leadership Community by public and private partners that lead the Illinois 60 by 25 Network, which is committed to ensuring that 60% of Illinois adults have a college or career credential by 2025. This designation solidifies Boone County as a community dedicated to student, employer and employee success.
It should be no surprise that there continues to be instability when it comes to the unemployment rate. At the end of 2020, Boone County's unemployment rate sat at 7.6%. Hinting at recovery, that number dropped to 6.4% as of December 31, 2021.
Growth Dimensions is steadfast in focusing on three main areas to grow the job market: Illinois' Competitive Advantages; Technology; and, Transformation. Through our investors, partners, board and committees, we will continue to prioritize these areas throughout the year to build a network that attracts and retains businesses looking for a skilled and reliable workforce, as well as bring opportunities that bring jobs to those who need them.
Growth Dimensions advanced its reach across the globe, through website and social media engagement. The digital reach was expanded through the implementation of geofencing, in order to send relevant messaging to targeted audiences.
GROWTH DIMENSIONS WEBSITE
The Growth Dimensions' website saw an increase in traffic of more than 30% in 2021, compared to 2020.
Worldwide, Boone County was seen in 135 countries and 2,218 cities, in 2021.
SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENT
Growth Dimensions amassed more likes and followers on social media platforms, throughout the past year, as well.
When the pandemic took hold in Boone County, various local leaders came together to form Forward Boone County. As part of this partnership with the Boone County Health Department, community-based organizations, businesses, education systems, regional planning, municipalities and healthcare providers, thousands of Boone County residents and businesses had quick and relianle information needed to combat the physical, mental and financial implications that came along with COVID-19.
By the end of 2021, Forward Boone partners volunteered more than 1,000 hours, created 18 informational webinars with 3,000+ views and developed a one-stop-shop for COVID-19 individual and business resources at www.forwardboone.org.
Economic recovery for businesses was at the forefront of Forward Boone's mission, as 807 Boone County businesses received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans through the SBA, resulting in $49,763,574 much-needed dollars.*
Additional funds were awarded to Boone County businesses through the Belvidere and Poplar Grove Back to Business Grants and the Illinois Back to Business Grant Program, having received a total of $420,000 and $2,789,615, respectively.
Forward Boone County will continue to work together to provide resources to residents, businesses and workers.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR BOONE COUNTY & GROWTH DIMENSIONS
Continuing to focus on four strategic priorities, Growth Dimensions will identify what is on the horizon for business growth and emerging technologies, to keep advancing Boone County forward, ever-mindful of the County's heritage, diversity and assets.
THANK YOU TO OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Robert Opperman (President); Michael St. John (Vice President); Kristina Govern (Secretary); Michael Goelitz (Treasurer); David Anspaugh; Dex Battista; Matt Branom; Conor Brown; Dr. Gregory Brown; Dr. Rena Cotsones; Michael Dunn, Jr.; Susan Fagan; Sherry Giescke; Amy Grafton; Amy Ohlsen; Dr. Michael Greenlee; Scott Greenlee; Mick Gronewold; Tom Hutchinson; Boone County Chairman Karl Johnson; Belvidere Mayor Clint Morris; Paul Nolley; Dr. Bernie O'Malley; Henry Pierce; Bill Robertson; Joan Sage; Poplar Grove President Don Sattler; Alexandra Scully; Representative Joe Sosnowski; Dr. Howard Spearman; Richard Van Evera; Dr. Daniel Woestman; John Wolf; and, Debbie Yunk
We recognize the invaluable leadership and guidance of two outgoing Growth Dimensions Board Officers.
THANK YOU TO OUR INVESTORS
*According to https://www.federalpay.org/paycheck-protection-program/il, using zip codes 61008, 61065, 61011 and 61038.