By Bob Balgemann
BELVIDERE – Gina Del Rose didn’t have to look far for a new job, after the Boone County Board decided to do away with the joint planning department some said had been around for 40 years.
That decision, made Feb. 17 in an 8-4 vote of the board, ultimately left both levels of government without a planner.
The Belvidere City Council was the first to act. Following a closed meeting March 7, aldermen agreed to hire DelRose, associate planner with the city-county planning department since November 2005. Her first day will be March 24.
“I think it will be good,” she said of the new position. Her office will be in the same building and, as she put it, “I know everybody who I’ll be working with. We have a good relationship.”
After graduating from college, she worked for about one year as an intern for the village of Tinley Park, a south Chicago suburb. Then she took the city-county job in Belvidere.
She is the second county employee to recently take a job with the city of Belvidere. Becky Tobin, assistant Boone County administrator, currently is the city’s budget and finance officer.
Meanwhile, County Administrator Ken Terrinoni said county officials would meet Wednesday, March 16 to discuss their options when it comes to hiring their own planner.
Less than two months remain in the 90 days’ notice the county gave the city over termination of the agreement.
There was a second transition at city hall on March 11 as Kathy Miller, interim planning director for the past five years, was treated to a farewell pot luck gathering in recognition of her retirement.
She plans to move elsewhere in Illinois to be closer to her family.
Both she and DelRose were involved in the community.
Miller was particularly interested in historic preservation and shepherded surveys of areas in town that were a significant part of Belvidere’s early days.
The city’s two business districts were studied and, as a result, they were placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Now, the city is applying for another grant in the hope of creating a historic preservation plan. And another survey is under way, this one in the area around the courthouse, which is historic in its own right. As is the 100-plus year old statute in Big Thunder Park, across the street, which is a tribute to military service.
Those efforts on behalf of the city and its evolution are expected to continue long after her departure.
The same is true of the historic preservation awards that are presented annually to property owners who improve their buildings while maintaining the historic ambiance.
DelRose was instrumental in starting the city’s downtown produce market, next to the county historical museum. She has spent many of her off hours on site to be sure everything ran smoothly. Plus, she helps the Boone County Animal Services Department by being a foster parent to dogs.

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