Highlights of Year Focus of IVAC Dinner

Infrastructure improvements and new businesses were highlighted by local mayors and village presidents Thursday evening at an Illinois Valley Area Chamber of Commerce annual dinner at Deer Park Country Club.

But village president of North Utica Fred Esmond drew the most attention with his observations on the controversial vote of the Utica Village Board on Monday to annex Illinois Sand Co. into the village so the company can mine 562 acres near the Osage curves for frac sand.

“We are looking at the money it will bring into the community,” Esmond said. “Anytime you can bring jobs into your community, including the ones building it, it’s a good thing.

“Yes, it’s an inconvenience to some landowners, but you have to look at the overall picture.”

Peru mayor Scott Harl referenced the New Year’s Eve Westclox fire and the “great job” of all the firefighters and responders. He especially thanked police chief Doug Bernabei and fire chief Jeff King and noted they and others had prepared for the possibility of such a disaster.

“We are proud of our citizens and especially our employees, who make the community a better place to live,” he said.

Hennepin Village President Kevin Coleman noted three industries in the past year have shown an interest in areas north of Hennepin, touring the area. He credited IVAC executive director Marci Duro for their interest.

“Without Marci and her staff, the industries would never have looked at Hennepin,” Coleman said.

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