Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Trio of Forums Spark Discussions, Empower Residents

Mercer County, IL – March 13th, 2017 –Over the past three weeks Mercer County: Better Together has launched its series of community forums, giving residents the opportunity to share their visions, hopes, concerns and ideas for their future. Throughout its first year Mercer County: Better Together has worked to understand who county residents are, hear their unique stories and learn why they have chosen Mercer County as their home. This effort continues with a series of community forums, one held in each of Mercer County’s eleven population centers.

MCBT community forums are structured around the completion of a community survey, followed by small group discussion. This format provides attendees the greatest opportunity for engagement with their friends and neighbors.

On February 23rd, the Sherrard community kicked off the series with a crowd of 29 residents at the Sherrard Fire Station. Attendees represented the Village of Sherrard, Fyre Lake as well as nearby unincorporated areas.

On February 28th, the Viola community held the second forum of the series at a packed Viola Community Center. A total of 46 area residents attended the event, sharing what matters most in their community.

It was encouraging to see the community come together to discuss issues of revitalization,” said Viola mayor Kirk Doonan. “Community members are taking an active role in shaping the Village of Viola's future.”

On March 8th, a group of 31 Joy area residents filled the Joy Fire Station, discussing the vitality of their community.

Responses to all community survey and small group questions are compiled by MCBT, and will be used to prioritize efforts at the project development stage of the process which will be July-September. Through mid-June, MCBT will hold forums in each of Mercer County’s eleven population centers. MCBT will hold its next forum at 6pm on Thursday, March 23rd at the Eliza Community Center.

Plan to attend the forum in your community soon. All forums begin at 6pm.

ELIZA – Thursday, March 23rd – Eliza Community Center

ALEDO – Thursday, April 6th – St. Catherine Parish Hall

MATHERVILLE/PREEMPTION – Thursday, April 20th – Preemption United Methodist Church

SEATON – Wednesday, May 3rd – Former Seaton Bank building

NORTH HENDERSON – Wednesday, May 17th – Location TBA

KEITHSBURG – Wednesday, May 31st – Keithsburg First Christian Church

NEW WINDSOR – Wednesday, June 7th – New Windsor Presbyterian Church

NEW BOSTON – Wednesday, June 14th – New Boston Community Center

The Mercer County: Better Together planning process is being supported with funds from the Looser-Flake Charitable Foundation, as well as Mercer County and its communities. For more information on these forums or the Mercer County: Better Together initiative, contact Project Coordinator Kyle McEwen.


Kyle McEwen

Project Coordinator, Mercer County: Better Together

(309) 574-3123