Economic Development office holds ribbon cutting ceremony

Robert Blackford/Editor
The Mercer County Economic Development Partnership cuts a ribbon on its new offices at 2106 SE 3rd St., Aledo.

The Mercer County Economic Development Partnership held an open house and ribbon cutting at its new offices at 2106 SE 3rd St., Aledo on Wednesday, Sept. 17.

The University of Illinois Extension, MERGO, Mercer Countyll and the City of Aledo are financing the office with the hopes it helps attract new industry to the area and helps retain current jobs in the county.

About 50 people were in attendance for the ribbon cutting.

Wallace Green, immediate past chairman of the board of MERGO who served as the board chairman of the Mercer County Board from 1996-2002 spoke first at the office's unveiling.

"This has been coming for quite some time," said Green. Green noted that the county has needed a person with a staff for some time. "Jenny (Garner) came on board last spring. We are very excited about this office."

Mercer County board member Tom Haines advised attendees that the partnership will help the entire county. "Rome wasn't built in a day. It will need help to grow. Be patient with them."

Al Kulczewski an advisor for the University of Illinois extension service told the crowd that in the last few years the service has gotten into growth in economic development. "We explored extension in Warren County three years ago. Al Zwilling contacted me and served as a facilitator with MERGO and here we are today."

Kulczewski said, "In today's world partnerships are important in today's economy.

Aledo City Administrator Patrick Burelle spoke on behalf of the city. "This shows there is real interest in this going forward. Everyone is trying to do economic development. We were just part of a larger wheel. This will benefit Mercer County as well as Aledo."

Garner said, "The office has been up since April. We've spent six months establishing a database of businesses in the county. "I've visited with leaders throughout the county and referred several people."

Garner said, "I'm trying to be the resource connecting the right people with the right people. We want to be an office to connect people with who they need to talk to."

Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To phone, call (309) 582-7696.