By Shelby R. Farrell
POPLAR GROVE – The Village of Poplar Grove will soon see one local business expand and a new chain store appear as the village’s economy continues to improve.
The village introduced the plans for an industrial and economic development along Routes 76 and 173 in 2009 hoping to bring in new business to the village, and in May this year, Dollar General was the first to break ground as a part of these plans.
At the Village of Poplar Grove Board of Trustees meeting on Oct. 12, the members approved the final plat, or the map showing the land’s divisions, and they allowed the construction company to finally build some walls for the new store in the Poplar Woods subdivision on Route 76.
“I just saw a bunch of leveled gravel, and I saw the steel outside, so they’re about to pour the footing,” Village Attorney James Stevens said. “In the next three weeks, you’re going to see a building there.”
While bringing in new businesses, such as Dollar General, can help the village reach its economic goals, supporting locally owned businesses is just as important to the village’s growth. Arturo’s Mexican Restaurant at 107 W. Main St. is also expanding.
The owners, Arturo Torres and Zulma Rodriguez, bought the building adjacent to the east, which used to be the village’s old fire station. The old building is being transformed into a second dining area for the restaurant, and the entities were formed into one at the Oct. 12 meeting.
Torres said the second building’s grand opening is scheduled for Nov. 4, and the board congratulated the local, family-owned business on its success.
“I’m just so excited to your guys’ business grow in the community,” Trustee Neeley Erickson said. “It’s wonderful, and you guys go above and beyond. I can’t wait.”
The Village Board of Trustees might get more chances to get excited about booming business this year with the new Enterprise Zone.
“The Illinois Enterprise Zone Program is designed to stimulate economic growth and neighborhood revitalization in economically depressed areas of the state,” according to the Growth Dimensions quarterly magazine from this summer.
The program offers state and local incentives to bring businesses to areas that need revitalization. Some of the incentives include property tax abatements and reductions to building permit fees. The Belvidere-Boone County Enterprise Zone helped create more than 3,400 jobs and retained more than 2,000 jobs since 2005.
However, when the Illinois General Assembly amended the Illinois Enterprise Act, it forced all of the communities who wanted to be a part of a zone to reapply. Boone County, Belvidere, Poplar Grove and Capron partnered to apply as a larger, more defined Enterprise Zone, excluding residential areas and adding more commercial areas. While the state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity certified the new zone, all official action has been delayed until the budget is complete.

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