It has been a fun one, 2019.
Is it just me or does it seem like we were just welcoming 2019? What a year it has been! 2019 has been a year for the record books. See what I did there? Anyway, buckle up and enjoy the ride through 2019 with us.
The Big Move.
The City of Casey purchased the former Regions Bank building at 101 W. Alabama at auction on August 28, 2019 to serve as location of City Hall and moved into the space in late October. This building houses the offices of Mayor, Utilities, Collector, Clerk, Treasurer, Economic Development and will soon include our Police Department. Our former City Hall building located at 108 E. Main St. was sold to the highest bidder, Casey First Baptist Church. The Casey Fire Protection District, created by referendum as its own entity, is in the process of building a new firehouse at 1200 E. Main St.
We welcomed new staff and alderman and wished a few the best in their retirement!
Alderman: Marcy Mumford, Carlene Richardson, and Butch Ruffner
Water Department – Billy Hamilton
Police Department – Jason Metzelaars, Blaine Washburn, and Chief Adam Henderson
Retirements: Chief of Police – Mark Jenkins, Water Department Foreman – Mike Montgomery, Electric Department Foreman – Kenny Shobe
Some much-needed changes to improve our Infrastructure took place.
The Illinois Department of Transportation, with city support, repaved Highway 49/Central Ave. Ne-Co Asphalt was the contractor. Also, improvements were accomplished on the roads and curbing around the Sunken Gardens in Fairview Park. The City annexed 24 acres of Casey Industries land located northwest of Casey to be used for future development and ran utilities to this property.
In an effort to reduce the blight around the community, the City of Casey obtained deeds to several residential and commercial properties for demolition. Two downtown properties and one residential property were demolished this year. Our Police Department and City Attorney Cara Shoaff have been working diligently to issue and enforce abatements to clean up homes and properties around town.
Business is booming.
We are so excited that our Downtown is growing. Please continue to shop LOCAL. Casey has SO much to offer. 2019 welcomed:
The Traveling Mug – Located at 13 W General Robey, Dori Gowin offers the best coffee creations and teas, no need to rely on the corporate stores for your morning or afternoon pick-me up.
Wildflour Bakery – Located inside Olive Tree Marketplace, Mariah Huddlestun bakes donuts, cupcakes, cookies, muffins, bread, and other amazing desserts fresh daily!
Tetzel Prime – Located at 5&7 S. Central, The Athey family bakes fresh gourmet pretzels that are sure to be your new favorite!
Latin Beauty Nails – Located at 20 W. Main, Sugeiri Lockard and her staff offer pedicures and nail services with ample room for you and all your friends!
Casey Coffee Company – Located at 6 W. Main, The Self family is working vigorously to restore the building and open soon.
Speaking of downtown.
The landscape is changing.
Unfortunately, we have lost a few of our brick buildings downtown over the past couple years. Most recently over the summer, Maulding Excavating was awarded the bid to demolish the Goble Building at 14-16 West Main after the building became a threat to the safety of residents and tourists. This is a huge loss to the history of our downtown but we are committed to making these areas inviting places. In these areas you have been seeing improvement such as lovely landscaping, more is to come as we transform the southwest corner of Central & Main into a pocket park and across South Central into a Visitors Center. These projects could not be done without the support of: BOLIN, Casey In Action, Casey Industries, Big Things Small Town, and Casey Rotary.
September 28th, Big Things Small Town added five more certified Guinness World’s Largest titles to Casey, and one to Marshall. The new items include:
Gavel – Located at the Clark County Courthouse in Marshall.
Golf Club – to be displayed at the new Visitors Center on S. Central.
Swizzle Spoon – Located outside of Brownie’s Place, 111 S. Central.
Barber Pole – Located outside of Tina’s Barber Shop, 12 W Main.
Key – Located outside the former Downtown Garage on W. Alabama.
Teeter Totter – Located on the corner of E. Main and SE 2nd
We’ve covered infrastructure changes, and new businesses but there is so much more to cover! So here we go.
We have applied for and received $595,000 in state grants for 2019. These grants are to be used on waterline upgrades bound by the CSX lines on the South; NW 5th St on the West; West Florida St on the North; and N. Central Ave on the East, drainage projects along West Main, and cleaning up blighted properties. At this time, we have applications out for 2020 grants totaling $515,000 if awarded.
We offer three grants for Casey residents, business owners, and organizations.
Business Improvement/Business Utility: Offers businesses with up to $2,500 in matched funds for updates to their business.
Community Grant: Offers organizations up to $500 in sponsorship dollars, or specific project dollars.
Revitalization Grant: Offers residents and/or business owners’ reimbursement of up to $500 for a dumpster during demolition or rehabbing of a property.
Our Economic Development Director partners with Casey organizations, as well as County, Regional, and Statewide Economic Development Organizations.
Big Things Small Town (BTST)
Chamber of Commerce
Clark County Development Organization (CCDO)
Illinois Extension – Clark County
East Central Illinois Development Corporation (ECIDC)
Illinois Municipal League (IML)
The burning questions, “when will we get a huge factory that employs thousands”, or “when will we get a Wal Mart” or “when will we get an Aldi” –
These businesses thrive on traffic count and hard data. This is hard data that currently we do not have BUT are in the process of obtaining.
A couple of months ago we began a Revitalization Plan with the Illinois Housing Development Authority that will help us to be competitive in partnering with developers and be competitive on our tax credit applications. This credit is what developers need to bring a housing development, or assisted living style development to town.
This December we began a partnership with Casey Industries and MSA to conduct a Feasibility Study and Market Review of Casey, specifically the Highway 49 corridor along I-70. This information study provides developers with the hard facts they are seeking in order to ensure development is feasible in Casey. This study will be completed mid- 2020.
So many great events and festivals took place this year! We had festivals at the park including the Popcorn Festival and 4th of July. We had Movies in the Park thanks to CIA and Music in the Park thanks to John Crouch Music. We packed our Downtown for Feast in the Street and Crazy Casey Day. This December we were transported into a Hallmark Movie for the weekend of Candy Canes on Main.
As you can see, we have had a busy year and are beyond excited to see what 2020 holds. We hope you are proud of our community as BIG things are happening – it takes every single one of you to keep the ball rolling in the right direction.
Bailey Maulding, Economic Development Director