In the first of WNIJ's occasional series "Community Close-Up," we turn our attention to Belvidere. Like many other communities, Belvidere is trying to revitalize its downtown.
The city has formed a new committee to carry the effort forward. Mark Williams is assisting the committee. Williams is director of Growth Dimensions, a nonprofit that deals in development issues. He spoke to WNIJ’s Guy Stephens about what’s happening, and why it’s important to the city.
Belvidere, or "The City of Murals," is located in north central Illinois and is 75 miles from downtown Chicago on Routes 20, 76 and the Northern Illinois Toll road, with the Kishwaukee River dividing the town.
It was first named "Elysian Fields". The name was changed to Belvidere, which means "beautiful to view".
The original town of Belvidere was laid out on the north side of the river, with the usual town square upon which the County Courthouse was built. However, when the railroad located on the south side in 1851, the business section gradually moved south, and that is the location of "downtown" today.
In 1835, the census figures show 37 men, women and children as residents. Today, the figure has increased to 25,585 according to the 2010 Census. -information from the city of Belvidere
What is Growth Dimensions?
Growth Dimensions of Belvidere and Boone County, Inc. started in 1982 as a 501C(6) public-private corporation for economic development. It was incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation and organized in 1979 by the City of Belvidere, Boone County and the Chamber of Commerce.
Growth Dimensions coordinates and manages the strategic initiative projects that are identified in the Belvidere-Boone County Economic Development Strategic Plan including: Business Retention, Expansion and Attraction Programs; The New Uses AgTech Initiative, Kishwaukee Riverfront Development, Transportation Initiative Project and more. -information from Growth Dimensions.