Countywide Summit Educates Residents, Connects Communities

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Over the past six months Mercer County: Better Together (MCBT) has learned the values, hopes, concerns and ideas of nearly 500 county residents through a series of community forums, public outreach and data gathering. Public feedback was used to build statements for action in each of Mercer County’s eleven population centers, then the county as a whole. On Sunday, August 27th MCBT hosted a countywide summit, celebrating accomplishments in its planning process while looking for public feedback on these county and community statements.

The “Discover Mercer County” summit featured fair-style booths for each of Mercer County’s eleven communities, as well as a ‘countywide’ themed booth and a booth showcasing the historic Verdurette property. Community representatives hosted each booth, engaging with attendees. Attendees who participated at each of the booths and provided feedback on community and countywide statements were entered into a drawing to win community prizes. Each community contributed an experiential prize package to showcase what makes their place unique. Winners enjoyed prizes that will take them to parts of Mercer County they may not experience every day.

New Windsor Community Representative Kelly Adamson felt the summit was beneficial.

ऀ“Communication is always important for citizens to know what’s possible for improvement in our area,” Adamson said.

Aledo Community Representative Rusty Ruggles added, “I enjoyed talking to residents I hadn’t met before about my hometown. This event is important to get the word out about MCBT.”

A total of fifty Mercer County residents participated in the summit, hailing from nine different population centers.

As attendees toured community booths, they enjoyed a free meal and the opportunity to network with other residents. Sherrard Community Representative Marlena Hays saw the value in those conversations.

ऀ“I was impressed with the younger generation representing their communities - some of the ideas used to get information out there were super!I suggested that each community invite board members from other communities to a meeting,” Hays said. “It would be a good way to coordinate needs in multiple areas with the same concerns.”

Hundreds of ideas were submitted to MCBT through the data gathering phase; the community and countywide statements will be the criteria against which potential actions for submitted ideas will be measured.

If residents were not able to attend the summit and wish to provide feedback, they may contact MCBT Project Coordinator Kyle McEwen by phone, via email or by mail using the contact information below.


Kyle McEwen

Project Coordinator, Mercer County: Better Together

PO Box 73 / Aledo, IL 61231

(309) 574-3123