By Bob Balgemann


The Village of Poplar Grove has received a state grant of up to $273,772 to help develop a nine-lot, light industrial subdivision across from Forrest Pallet, at 230 E. Park St. in Poplar Grove.

The money will come from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and provide roadway access to Forrest Pallet, whose new building will anchor the subdivision.

Village Administrator Diana Dykstra first mentioned the project in April 2015, while presenting the proposed 2015-16 budget to members of the finance committee.

Jarid Funderburg, executive director of Growth Dimensions, wrote a letter to IDOT, supporting the grant application.

Forrest Pallet originated in Belvidere in 1993 and has been in Poplar Grove for more than 20 years. It is one of the largest pallet management services in the Midwest. It works with customers on the most effective pallet management and recycling solutions to fit their needs.

It was stated in April 2015 that officials at Forrest would be working with Growth Dimensions and the village to bring light industrial uses to the community. Growth Dimensions is the marketing arm of Boone County and its municipalities.

Funding will include eligible roadway engineering and construction costs.

The announcement from IDOT that the village had received the grant included some accompanying conditions.

Forrest Pallet has agreed to create 10 new jobs and retain 11 existing jobs in Illinois. This will help maintain a strong economic employment base for the Village of Poplar Grove and Boone County, the letter stated.

A joint agreement with the state must be developed and fully executed before engineering and construction of the project can be advertised. Failure to do so may jeopardize IDOT’s ability to reimburse the village for eligible expenses.

The village also is required to notify IDOT of any changes in the status of the company. If the company fails to expand at its current site, the village should notify IDOT immediately.

Administrator Dykstra said East Park must be improved with curb, gutter, and an industrial surface. A portion of the road will be rebuilt east of Poplar Grove Road.

In addition, village water and sewer will be extended to the property.

The village board last year approved $100,000 for the project. The original cost estimate in 2008 was $355,000. If the village did not receive the IDOT grant, the project would not have been completed. Instead, a simple resurface project with no future growth expectations would have been done.

Now, with the assistance from IDOT, the village will be able to invest in its first light industrial park for the small business owner, looking for a 30,000 to 50,000-square-foot space.

“The project was a big win for the region to help create the permanent, full-time jobs at the site, as well as create significant construction jobs to build the facility and the supporting infrastructure,” Village President John Neitzel said.

“We are thankful to IDOT District II staff for understanding the importance of this project and providing support.”

Funderburg said that having shovel-ready sites “that are zoned for industrial use in Poplar Grove is a differentiator for the village, as well as Boone County.”

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