Thank you to the Belleville Telescope!

A HUGE thank you to Deb Hadachek and The Belleville Telescope staff. Appreciate all your support for Republic County Economic Development since we (Jenny Russell & Luke Mahin) started working with RCED in 2010. We are lucky to have a local paper that has a long history of engaging the community on important issues and provide a pivotal voice in promoting the great things happening here in our county.

Thank you to all of  the past and current RCED board members, NCK Industrial Development Inc., local city councils, county commissioners, Belleville Chamber & Main Street, local media outlets, local businesses, NCK SBDC, North Central Regional Planning, and other volunteers we are blessed to work with in economic development projects. Without their work and foresight many of our projects would not have been successful!

– Luke Mahin

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This is a good week

Deb Hadachek, Editor – The Belleville Telescope

I have always been a believer.

I knew from my first conversation with the folks at Love’s Travel Stop that the company decided a long time ago they were building in Belleville.

Still, the news this week that Love’s and NCK Industrial Development closed the deal on the purchase of land on the US81 corridor comes with a bit of a sigh of relief, and a big “Wow–it’s really happening.” For a minute I wanted to run into Merle Miller’s office and celebrate. The vision my friend and former Telescope publisher had for what the US81 corridor could mean to Republic County is finally starting to bear fruit.

We would be remiss, however, if we thought that this small miracle didn’t come without a lot of work and sleepless nights on the part of a group of Republic County citizens that mostly works under the radar. A truck stop on US81 is a big deal for Republic County–but really only the tip of the iceberg of a number of economic strides the county has taken in recent years.

Luke Mahin and Jenny Russell are the faces of Republic County Economic Development, and it is really impossible to gauge how important the contacts and conversations they have with people every day have been to help stabilize our business community. From helping business owners who want to retire transition their stores to new owners, to turning citizens’ attention to the importance of housing and high speed internet, they have filled a role that was long lacking in the county. Even a small thing like upping our exposure on social media goes a long way to shape our image to the larger world.

Lesser known are the volunteer board members who serve on the RCED committee, NCK Industrial Development, the Republic County Revolving Loan Fund, and the outreach agencies like the Small Business Development Center and NCK Regional Planning. They often get into the private nuts and bolts of accounting to make sure a new or expanding business can succeed after it opens its doors.

It’s hard to tell what might happen when a business prospect like Love’s shows up without a number of friendly faces offering to help. Often I hear “(Walmart, K-Mart) wanted to locate here, but THEY kept them out.” I’ve never been able to determine if these urban legends are true, or who the nefarious “THEY” are, but I do suspect good prospects have died on the vine because no one was there to follow up on the inquiry.

This is just one of many good news weeks regarding economic development we’ve had in Republic County.

May we continue to build our future on the hard work past and present citizens have contributed.