What a welcome change the newspaper headlines brought the last 2 weeks. After months of grinding negativity; good things are happening.
We learned the City of Oregon has received an Illinois Transportation Enhancement Grant. This $525,760 is an 80:20 match. It will enable the city to move forward with 19 new street lights, curbs and brick imprinted sidewalks.
The city reports receiving 30% more due to the Historic District designation of the downtown.
Next we read the Oregon Park District will receive a 75:25 match Parks and Recreation FacilityConstruction Grant for an upgrade of the Nash Center facilities. This $1.5 million grant will replace the original roof and mechanicals to improve the pool efficiency and reduce their ongoing utility costs.
Third, the Oregon Library District is eligible for an Illinois Library Construction Grant of $3.77 million toward the amount needed to build a new, full service, accessible community library. This is critically important as this one-time grant opportunity reduces the amount of the upcoming referendum by nearly 50%.
Sixteen communities shared in the 50 million library grant. This money comes from bonds sold by the Illinois State Library system specifically for construction—just like Oregon leaders sold bonds in 1921 to build the Oregon Coliseum.
Combined, all 3 grants will bring a $5,772,000 economic infusion to Oregon. This 5.8 million will bring jobs, sales tax revenue and have rippling economic effects, all positive.
Just this week, some new neighbors described how they looked at other cities around Ogle County, the ones that are supposed to be economically booming, but Oregon won hands down. They bought their home here and are already getting involved in the community.
So enough doom and gloom. Let’s turn the page and support the town and community that new residents keep choosing as the best community to put down roots.
Joe and Beth Simeone
Vote yes on the library question
I plan to vote “yes”for the new Oregon library on April 9. We are behind the times and long over due for this project.
We need a new facility because our current one is outdated, inconvenient for patrons, and not up to standard.
Our community deserves to have top-flight library that we are proud to use and tell others about.
The following are just a few of the reasons why I am marking my ballot “yes.”
A new library will:
1.) Attract residents to the area and improve the economy with increased home sales, tax income, business activity, and students for our schools.
2.) Provide more and better information in the form of books, e-books, magazines, movies, audios, and internet access.
3.) Create an attractive social and cultural hub to inform us about community events, services, and recreational and educational opportunities.
4.) Educate residents through book clubs, book sales, speakers, authors, and special programs.
5.) Provide comfortable meeting spaces for groups planning community events.
6.) Help our school teachers and administrators in educating our children and youth by providing a place for them to learn after school, weekends, and during the summer.
7.) Expand physical access for those with disabilities and special needs.
My “yes” vote means that I am willing to dig deeper into my pocket for the good of the community.
Because of a state grant the cost is half of what it was the last time it came to a vote. The more people who agree with me, the easier it will be to reach our goal.
We get what we pay for and benefit from our sacrifices. We also suffer when we don’t pull together to build an adequate library facility.
I’m hoping we can stand together to build together.
Clifford E. Knapp
Fill the gym for next year’s team
Thanks Lady Hawks! Thanks a million!
I know I am writing this for the many Oregon Lady Hawks basketball fans that have followed you this season.
We can remember when my daughter played. The ladies programs was just getting started. Wow!
You gals have no idea how much you have improved the quality of play. Your team’s depth is so great that it does not seem to matter who is on the floor.
What a coaches’ dream that must be! Being able to substitute at will and not change the team’s ability makes for total teamwork and the feeling of participation.
This being said, it was sad to see seniors Alexi, Devyn and Brianna play their last game in Byron as a Lady Hawk.
It doesn’t take long before visions of what next year’s team will be like appear. With all but 3 returning and gaining new players, how can we not be watching another super team?
All we need to do now is fill the gym for them with fans.
Al and Marillyn Koper
Volunteer to help CASA
Every year there are millions of abused and neglected children who have become wards of the Court.
CASA is a program where volunteers are appointed by the court to speak for the child’s best interest. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) are trained volunteers from our community.
These children are at risk because of their circumstances, i.e. they are abused and/or neglected.
The CASA volunteer reviews all records and speaks to all parties involved in the child’s case.
The CASA volunteer then provides the judge with factual, researched details about the child to help the judge make an informed decision regarding the child’s future.
CASA is often the one consistent person throughout the duration of the child’s case, providing continuity for the child until the case is permanently resolved.
We always need volunteers for our program as the number of new children assigned to us changes on a monthly basis.
There is no special experience or education needed to become a CASA volunteer. All one needs is a commitment to children and the desire to help.
The American Bar Association, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, and the Office of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention of the U.S. Department of Justice have endorsed CASA.
Please think of our children and consider becoming a CASA volunteer.
For more information, visit our website, www.casaleecarroll.com or call 815-288-1901.
CASA 15th Judicial Circuit Board Member