Be an Economic Development Catalyst
29 Nov 2022
Invest in Growth Dimensions to continue Boone County’s growth.
Economic development is an evolving, ever-changing system of complex relationships between a community, elected officials, financial leaders and businesses. These entities are often experts in understanding local business challenges, priorities and the processes necessary to navigate toward economic growth. Investing in economic development agencies makes it possible for these partners to develop and implement a vision to elevate a community’s potential.
As evident by recent accomplishments, Boone County’s economic development investors are catalysts for success in the county, region and state while positively impacting their own potential for growth.
Growth Dimensions was busy in 2022, a year of optimism and business recovery after two years impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Significant initiatives and accomplishments that Growth Dimensions played a considerable role in include:
General Mills chose Boone County to construct a new 1.3 million square foot warehouse and distribution center. The 111-acre Belvidere site will serve as a Midwest distribution hub for General Mills products and utilize lean and productive technologies, such as autonomous guided vehicle material handling systems. It is estimated the facility will have a market value of more than $30 million and produce approximately $140,000 a year in City of Belvidere real estate taxes. The project is expected to aid in additional shovel-ready industrial and commercial lots development, also contributing to the tax base for the City and Boone County.
The OM Group and the City of Belvidere collaborated on bringing Speed Trek to the city, which broke ground on October 28, 2022. The project will include a fuel center and a 12,000-square-foot convenience store featuring retail establishments and future development to include more retail and hospitality businesses, including a multi-story hotel. The project is an exciting growth catalyst, bringing hundreds of construction and permanent jobs to Belvidere while creating tax relief for residents through sales and property tax dollars.
Projects started in 2022 are estimated to bring millions in investments to Boone County. Growth Dimension’s 2022 Enterprise Zone Projects, to date, consist of:
- 42 Projects: 26 Industrial and 16 Commercial
- 25 Businesses
- $44,346,166 in Construction Materials
- $218,337,320 in Capital Investments
Other notable projects include:
- General Mills committed to a new sugar silo to support its ever-growing product line.
- Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) are installing a new product line, bringing an estimated 55 new jobs.
- Crusader Community Health broke ground on a nearly 3,000-square-foot addition and 1,000-square-foot remodel on their existing Belvidere location.
- Business investments are underway at Kaman Industries, Hamblock Ford, RPS Products, CTEC Data Solutions, AT&T, 815 Healthy’s, Bark About It, Jimmy John’s, Taco Bell, Miles Bar & Grill and others.
Rock Valley College’s Advance Technology Center (ATC) held its first semester of courses in early 2022. The $11 million investment delivers cutting-edge programming to advance area workforce skills to meet employers’ current and future needs. The Rock Valley College Foundation provided more than 200 students with scholarship opportunities to attend the ATC.
The ATC was the designated site for Governor Pritzker, Illinois Legislators and other dignitaries to sign the Reimagining Electric Vehicles in Illinois into law. The Bill was a direct result of Growth Dimensions’ and its allies’ requests and persistence to make Illinois more competitive to keep manufacturing strong in Illinois.
Pipeline for future success
Boone County was established as part of the Illinois Education & Career Success Network, partly due to the efforts of Growth Dimensions, Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 and North Boone Community Unit School District #200. The network focuses on building relationships with businesses and fostering those partnerships, allowing students to have experimental learning through onsite visits and internships to develop workplace skills and gain industry-recognized credentials. In 2022, it resulted in six internships in the manufacturing and automotive industries, leading to two permanent hires for Belvidere graduates.
Nearly 60 Belvidere students began welder training at the ATC and 13 Belvidere area students completed a CNA course, which provided high school graduates a well-paying, stable job after graduation.
Growth Dimensions is managing the STAMP grant from the Illinois Manufacturer’s Association on behalf of Belvidere School District 100, which will help pay for manufacturing and other skilled-labor internships over the next two years.
Collaboration is essential to Growth Dimension’s efforts toward the successful implementation of services that lead to the most significant impact for businesses. 2022 examples included:
Continued work with Forward Boone County to address business needs resulting from the pandemic.
A partnership with the City of Belvidere resulted in qualification for a grant from the National League of Cities and the Kauffman Foundation to provide bilingual assistance to Hispanic entrepreneurs trying to establish or expand their businesses. This grant allowed Growth Dimensions and the City of Belvidere to access the support of a bilingual expert to improve business processes, develop business materials for Spanish speakers and clarify communications.
Growth Dimensions continues providing e-Communications to highlight successes, services, events and programs available to prospects, businesses and the public. “Growing Together” and “Boone County in Focus” are distributed to more than 2,000 connections.
Growth Dimensions marketing efforts include concerted digital advertising, utilizing a broader reach to prospects and more accurately gauging return on investment. Additionally, geofencing campaigns with largely-attended, industry-specific conferences throughout the United States have increased website engagement by up to 465% in some instances.
Looking forward to 2023
As 2022 draws to a close, Growth Dimensions has its eye on a successful 2023.
“We would love to have existing and new investors be a part of great things happening in 2023 in Belvidere and Boone County,” said Pamela Lopez-Fettes, Growth Dimensions Executive Director.
Growth Dimensions is currently working with local and state officials, Intersect Illinois, Region 1 Planning Council and various Illinois departments to bring further economic development opportunities to Boone County.
Lopez-Fettes added, “As much as we would love to shout these projects from the rooftops, we respect the confidentiality of our businesses.”
Growth Dimensions investors provide the necessary resources to start and keep these conversations going, resulting in wins for the entire community.
Invest in Growth Dimensions
Since 1979, Growth Dimensions Economic Development has sought to provide a progressive and cooperative environment to improve the quality of life in Belvidere and Boone County, Illinois. It manages a coordinated economic development strategy to create jobs, promote community assets and stimulate capital investment through local, national and global business retention and attraction efforts. Its personnel has years of experience in the economic development and workforce fields, taking guidance from a Board of Directors to ensure the organization’s purpose and mission are fulfilled.
Key industry, business and community leaders in the private and public sectors support Growth Dimensions. Investors directly impact Boone County's growth and enable Growth Dimensions to position the County and the larger region as one of the nation's leading destinations for new opportunities and expanding existing businesses.