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Growth Dimensions

Growth Dimensions is the driving force behind economic development in Boone County, which has been around for 36 years.

Growth Dimensions was incorporated as a nonprofit corporation in 1979, by the City of Belvidere, Boone County and the Chamber of Commerce. Three years later, a broad-based economic development program was identified as a priority need and Growth Dimensions was determined to be the perfect vehicle to launch the program.

Despite Boone County facing challenges during an economic downtown, more than 150 business and industrial leaders became involved in Growth Dimensions in its first year of existence. In addition, a Center for Governmental Studies conducted a survey of Boone County residents, which indicated strong community support for an aggressive industrial development program on behalf of Belvidere and Boone County, as well as for a downtown revitalization program.

In the 1980s, Growth Dimensions provided technical expertise, job training assistance, financial information and tax incentive assistance to major Boone County businesses including Ipsen Abar, Chrysler Corporation, Dean Foods, Pillsbury Green Giant, Century Tool and Franklin Wire Works. Out of Growth Dimensions and the Chamber of Commerce other necessary organizations were established. A year later, more than $842 million was invested or committed to commercial and industrial projects, in addition to public facility and infrastructure improvements.

In the 1990s, major employers made significant investments in new facilities, purchase of new equipment and rehabilitation of existing facilities. The decade brought other notable triumphs, such as the production of the NEON at Chrysler, the arrival of R&D Thiel and retail chain, Shopko. In 1997, the Poplar Grove Airport was recognized by the Illinois Department of Transportation as the “Privately Owned General Aviation Airport of the Year.”

Growth Dimensions significantly increased its marketing, both regionally and nationally and worked more closely with developers, property owners and realtors to increase the availability and selection of fully developed industrial sites and buildings. The aggressiveness paid off: we saw the opening of Sager Corporate Park and the development of Landmark and Town Hall Industrial Parks. In addition, Belvidere High School launched a 49,000-square-foot remodeling project, which included a 850-seat auditorium.

Growth Dimensions, City of Belvidere and Boone County formed partnerships with local businesses, area utilities and local higher education institutions to create a New Uses Agricultural Technology Park to support the commercialization of agricultural research for alternative industrial uses. Also, NDK America Inc. selected Belvidere for a new, state-of-the-art facility combining manufacturing with research and development.

In 2004, Crusader Clinic opened a clinic in Belvidere, providing primary medical care for patients of all ages on an affordable sliding fee basis. A year later, Chrysler Group announced it was investing $419 million to revamp the Belvidere assembly plant in preparation of building new models. In 2009, a hospital re-opened in the Belvidere community called SwedishAmerican Medical Center of Belvidere.

These days, Growth Dimensions coordinates and manages the strategic initiative projects that are identified in the Belvidere-Boone County Economic Development Strategic Plan including: Business Retention, Expansion and Attraction Programs; The New Uses AgTech Initiative, Kishwaukee Riverfront Development, Transportation Initiative Project and more.

The organization works to market the area effectively to potential investors, and advocates cooperative efforts to address common concerns of the communities within the region. The organization also maintains close contact with state, city, village, and county officials and development staff regarding development codes, standards and incentives. •

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