Rochelle Named Opportunity Zone by Governor Rauner
May 25, 2018

Rochelle Named Opportunity Zone by Governor Rauner

Rochelle Named “Opportunity Zone” by Governor RaunerRochelle Named “Opportunity Zone” by Governor RaunerThe City of Rochelle is excited to be a recipient of an Opportunity Zone designation by the State of Illinois.  Earlier this week, Governor Bruce Rauner announced that 327 recommendations by the State of Illinois have been approved by the U.S. Treasury Department.  These zones are designated to support the future of Illinois through economic growth and investment.

 “This is a really exciting opportunity for communities throughout Illinois,” Rauner said. “These zones include some of the most underserved areas of the state that have the greatest potential for improvement. They represent a broad cross-section of Illinois that includes rural, urban and suburban in-need communities that are ripe for investment and job creation.”

“I am proud of the efforts put forth by our staff, the regional economic development team and our elected officials to bring economic investment to the City of Rochelle,” said Rochelle Mayor Chet Olson.

To determine the most effective tracts for nomination, a three-phase approach was implemented to identify need and potential, adequately represent the entire state, and account for local input. Phase one involved need-based indexing depending on factors like poverty rates, specifically those among children, unemployment rates, crime rates and population. These standards highlight the goal of the program in Illinois which is to cultivate potential within disadvantaged communities and invest in our future generations across the state.Phase two and three were used to further identify the allotted 327 tracts Illinois could nominate under the federal program guidelines. To ensure a statewide benefit, each county with qualifying tracts received at least one zone and towns and cities across the state were limited on the number of zones included. 

“Rochelle’s area includes its entire rapidly improving downtown, an area already making great strides including the recent redevelopment of the historic Hub Theater into the highly-anticipatead Kennay Farms Distillery and Brewery.  Rochelle should expect even more new investment with this tool.” said Andy Shaw, Administrator of the Lee-Ogle Enterprise Zone. 

“The Opportunity Zone designation was accomplished through a collaborative effort between Rochelle, Dixon and Blackhawk Hills Regional Council. When we work together great outcomes happen. We also want to thank Governor Rauner, State Representative Tom Demmer and Senator Tim Bivins for their help in this designation,” said Jason Anderson, Economic Development Director for the City of Rochelle.

“I am optimistic  that somewhere in this mix,  the Opportunity Zone Program will yield new investment dollars to facilitate downtown commercial,  west end residential,  or south side retail and hospitality development. In addition to obtaining a new vehicle for investment in our area, our success in obtaining this designation is a testament to the benefits of "regional collaboration".   Blackhawk Hills, The City of Rochelle, LCIDA  and our State Representative Tom Demmer  all contributed to the good result,” said Kevin Marx.