GALENA – Northwest Illinois Economic Development selected Rock Island Economic Growth Corporation d/b/a Economic Growth Corporation (GROWTH) as nonprofit of the year for its redevelopment work on Shimer Square (formerly Shimer College), in Mount Carroll.
The award recognizes GROWTH and its impact the Shimer Square redevelopment will have for the area communities with its added housing, business space, and placemaking.
GROWTH was honored on March 12 during the annual meeting for Northwest Illinois Economic Development at Eagle Ridge Resort in Galena.
GROWTH took title for the former Shimer College campus on Dec. 31, 2018. The campus contains 17 buildings on 14 acres and is centrally located within the rural community of Mount Carroll.
Since taking title, GROWTH has been working diligently on the comprehensive redevelopment of the former college campus into a mixture of housing, business, and community amenities.
Its first effort was bringing back a beloved community festival, Mayfest, back to the campus during Memorial Day. It followed up with the renaming the campus by asking the community to cast a vote on their favorite name, which resulted in a tie.
A coin toss by the Mayor determined the final name of Shimer Square, in which a website www.ShimerSquare.com was developed as a way to keep the community informed of GROWTH’s redevelopment efforts.
Professional curators came to the site in July 2019 to help provide direction and to assist with taking inventory of all the historical items that have remained, and will remain, on the campus.
Shimer Square’s overall redevelopment effort will consist of artist/live/work space, senior and family housing, as well as community quality of life amenities.
GROWTH is finalizing the pieces of financing to kick off its first phase of Shimer Square’s redevelopment efforts that will result in the creation of 37 rental housing units within two buildings on the campus.
The project costs for the first phase exceeds $9.2 million. The effort is expected to take up to 7 years with a total investment exceeding $60 million.
“As a community based development organization, we look to fill the needs of a community. We are humbled to accept such an award from Northwest Illinois Economic Development and even more humbled for the opportunity to redevelop such a historic, strategic campus by preserving its legacy and advancing shared community plans to reignite the campus for the future. We are eager to get underway with our redevelopment efforts that will increase opportunities by generating business growth, housing opportunities, community development, recreation, and job creation,” said Brian Hollenback, President/CEO for GROWTH.
About Rock Island Economic Growth Corporation d/b/a Economic Growth Corporation (GROWTH)
Rock Island Economic Growth Corporation d/b/a/Economic Growth Corporation (GROWTH), is an experienced 501(c)3 non-profit community based development organization with a 35-year track record of revitalizing communities in need of jobs, investment, and housing. It pays specific attention to development based on what the community needs, and strategically aligns its development efforts to advance shared community goals. GROWTH is a nationally recognized, award winning non-profit organization, most notably being awarded the National James Leach Award from National Community Reinvestment Coalition, recognizing the most outstanding rural non-profit organization in the country that best promotes fair and equal access to credit and capital and/or contributes the most in its community toward promoting wealth building in traditionally underserved populations.
To date, GROWTH has developed 318 units of multifamily housing since 2001, with nearly 300 multifamily units in its development pipeline. Shimer Square’s first phase will build upon the success of GROWTH’s multifamily developments. Shimer Square’s redevelopment efforts and updates can be found at www.ShimerSquare.com.
In addition, GROWTH has also impacted more than 1,000 units of single-family housing throughout northwestern Illinois through its single-family rehabilitation and owner-occupied programs. Available single family programs can be found at https://www.economicgrowthcorporation.com/fixing-my-home.html. For more information call 855-788-6311.
About Northwest Illinois Economic Development (NWILED):
Northwest Illinois Economic Development (NWILED) provides development services to support economic opportunity in Jo Daviess, Carroll, and Whiteside Counties. NWILED hosted its 11th Annual Meeting Breakfast on Thursday, March 12 with the theme “Economic Development as a Team Sport,” featuring keynote speakers Dr. Christopher Merritt, director of the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs. NWILED’s sixth annual awards presented honoring business collaborations, non-profit collaboration, a community collaborator, and the NWILED Entrepreneurial Scholarship.