Chamber supports Child Abuse Walk

Cathy Decker/Staff reporter
From left are Jenny Garner, Bob Vickery and Marla Reynolds, who spoke at the April 13 Aledo Area Chamber of Commerce meeting.

From left are Jenny Garner, Bob Vickery and Marla Reynolds, who spoke at the April 13 meeting of the Aledo

Area Chamber of Commerce meeting.

Aledo Happy Joe’s hosted the monthly Aledo Area Chamber of Commerce meeting Tuesday, April 13 at a 7 a.m. breakfast.

Chamber business discussed included an upcoming Aledo night with the River Bandits, the date is yet to be determined; a golf outing in June at Hawthorne Ridge and the upcoming Rhubarb Festival. Chamber members are needed to sign up for the Chamber booth during Rhubarb Festival for a one or two hour shift and a business or organization is needed to man the four golf carts that will be used to shuttle people around town during Rhubarb Festival. The chamber is also beginning work on this year’s Holly Days Dec. 3-5 with “A Very Merry Christmas” as the theme.

Contact the chamber office at 582-5373 to volunteer for any of these events.

Guest speakers at the meeting were Marla Reynolds, director of Mercer County Family Crisis Center and Jenny Garner, Mercer Economic Development Partnership educator.

Reynolds spoke first about an upcoming Champions 4 Children Walk, set for May 8, 2010. S

She said the children’s walk is being held as a fund-raiser for the crisis center. “This is a two or four-mile walk,” she said. The Advocacy Center, one of the services the crisis center provides, is where money pledged for the walk will go, according to Reynolds. She said Aledo’s Advocacy Center is one of 36 accredited in the state.

The blue kids, three-and-a- half foot blue cutouts, will be seen around Aledo up until the day of the walk. “They will line the walk route on May 8. Call the Mercer County Family Crisis Center for more information on the Champions 4 Children walk, or to pledge call  (309) 582-7233.

The Chamber agreed to become a gold medal sponsor for $100 at the Champions 4 Children Walk 2010.

Housing survey

Jenny Garner spoke about a housing needs assessment done in 2008-2009. A Mercer County housing committee was assembled with consultants from Mercer EDP and Illinois Institute of Rural Affairs, Macomb. The committee gathered information from the survey and put together an area housing needs assessment.

“This housing survey was completed in 14 counties throughout the state,” she said. The survey was dropped off to every resident in the county. “We had an 21 percent response rate,” she said, which is a good response.

Some of the findings included:

• Since 2005 the housing bubble (price crash) seen across the nation took some time to hit the Midwest. “In our area we didn’t have as dramatic highs and lows,” said Garner. “Houses now valued at less than $200,000 are now moving.”

• Population decline in rural areas, including Mercer County, with a 19 percent decline since 1900. This year’s census predicts a 4.5 percent decline.

• There are significantly more seniors compared to Illinois percentages.

• One-third of the population moved between 1995 and 2000.

• It was found that there is a need for executive style housing in the Sherrard, New Windsor and New Boston areas.

• The percentage of the population living in poverty is 7.8. Of these, 10.5 percent are competing for 1.5 percent of the current housing, labeled as housing affordable for families living in poverty.