Pontiac's economic strength comes from its diversity. Manufacturing, commercial, professional and governmental offices provide the balance for the city's economy. Through cooperation and hard work of many, the city has succeeded in developing an environment supporting and fostering investment in the community
Manufacturing and industrial businesses have found it profitable and rewarding to invest in the community The community provides these businesses a committed and well-educated workforce, affordable utilities, necessary infrastructure and opportunities to finance their growth. International companies such as Cater-pillar, Inc., R.R. Donnelleys & Sons, and Interlake Steel have made Pontiac part of their success stories. Homegrown businesses are also finding Pontiac an ideal place to do business. Exact Packaging was the first company to move to the city's; Pontiac Corporate Center. With free land and utilities to their site, they were able to build and expand their business while creating jobs and revenues for the community
Commercial businesses have flourished along Route 116 and Interstate 55 corridor. Residents have all the commercial amenities of a larger community without the associated congestion.
Downtown Pontiac, through the efforts of PR.C.U.D., local merchants and city officials, has maintained it's commercial viability. The quaint buildings and unique blend of craft and antique shops are just a few of the items 'on the square' worth seeing. A visit to downtown Pontiac will quickly show you the reason the city was named as 'one of the ten best small towns in America' by Time Magazine.
Pontiac also serves as the county seat for Livingston County. The community's balance of economic activities is supported by full-time economic development professionals; from the city's economic development department, the Pontiac Area Chamber of Commerce, and PR.C.U.D.
The Central States Threshermans Association sponsors the annual Threshermens Reunion and Horse Show, celebrating the end of steam power. The five-day event, held over Labor Day weekend, features competitive events with tractors and steam-powered implements of a bygone era, along with entertainment, games, food and other family fun. The Reunion draws thousands of visitors to Pontiac each year.
The Threshermens Association also sponsors an annual Bluegrass Festival in late September at Threshermens Park, with concerts by nationally renowned bluegrass bands and artists. The music goes on all day long - and well into the night - during the last weekend (Friday-Sunday) of September!
Pontiacs own Vermilion Players theatrical troupe presents musicals and plays throughout the year at (where?). During the summer months (any particular day, each week?), Courthouse Square is the setting for free, open-air live performances by the Pontiac Municipal Band.
Fathers Day weekend brings the Antique and Classic Car Show to the Square. The annual 50/60's weekend even includes a cruise to a restored 20's gas station and root beer stand,craft show and 50/60's fun!
First Night on New Years Eve is the Pontiac version of an old-fashioned block party, complete with live music and comedy routines, buggy rides, an art show, strolling clowns, activities and entertainment specially for teens, and a spectacular midnight fireworks show.
The 400-acre Humiston Woods Nature Center on
Pontiacs west side offers a unique outdoor adventure for the
entire family. Open year round, it features over 20 acres of
restored prairie, plus a 10-acre tallgrass prairie and 13-acre original
Savannah prairie; six trails (including a bluebird walk) and viewing
platforms for walking, birdwatching or cross-country skiing; literally
hundreds of varieties of flora and fauna; a fishing pond, creek and
river (with ice skating in the winter); canoe dock; two pavilions;
picnic areas; and Scout camping areas. Humiston Woods Nature Center
hosts school and group tours, family reunions, wedding receptions and
other special events.
Situated along the banks of the picturesque Vermilion River, Pontiac is a mecca of water recreation. Residents and visitors alike enjoy swimming, fishing, canoeing, boating, water skiing, camping, hiking, ice skating, and more, all year long. The canopy of tress lining the riverbanks offer a breathtaking panorama of color in the fall.
The Elks Country Club and Wolf Creek Golf Course in Pontiac each offer 18 challenging holes of golf on meticulously maintained fairways and greens. handicappers and duffers 18 challenging holes .
Pontiacs public and private schools have earned a reputation for quality education and learning environments that encourage students to strive for their best.
The public school system is one of the best in Central Illinois. Pontiac Elementary School District 429 serves students in grades K-8 at three elementary schools and one junior high: Central School on W. Livingston St., Lincoln School on Main, and Washington School and Pontiac Junior High on Morrow St.
The student-to-teacher ratio at all school throughout the elementary district is approximately 15:1, ensuring that each youngster receives the individual attention he or she needs. District 429s dedicated staff of teachers, administrators and support staff provide a warm, nurturing environment through the "growing years." Two parochial schools - St. Marys Catholic School and Pontiac Christian School - also offer a broad curriculum in elementary schooling, and complemented by religious education.
Nearly 850 students are enrolled at Pontiac Township High School, serving families here and from surrounding communities. The curriculum includes more than 100 courses in both core requirements as well as specialized areas of study. The average ACT score for students completing the core high school program is 24.2, well above the state average. The school is equipped with state-of-the-art computerized learning labs, and also has an aquatic center with a 25-meter swimming pool available for use by both students and the public for swimming instruction and recreation. The schools all-weather, 400-meter track is also available for use by residents.
More than 65 percent of high school graduates go on to college, and many attend one of four nearby four-year institutions: Illinois State University at Normal, Illinois Weslyan University in Bloomington, University of Peoria, and University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Two -year community colleges located within 60 miles or less of Pontiac are Heartland Community College in Bloomington, Illinois Community College in East Peoria, IVCC and Joliet Junior College.
Saint James was established in 1907 by the Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Francis. Today, the hospital is equipped with the latest technologies and offers an expanded outpatient surgery program, cardiac care, rehabilitation, birthing services, a 16-bed skilled nursing unit, home health and hospice care, and 24-hour emergency care to serve the entire Livingston County area. As a designated emergency services resource, OSF Saint James Hospital houses the the regional EMS program which educates and trains area EMS professionals.
As a member of the OSF Health Care System, Saint James and its medical staff, including the OSF Medical Group (a group of primary care physicians and mid-level practitioners) have access to a comprehensive specialty physician network as well as links for more advanced care to its sister hospitals, OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria (including Life Flight helicopter transport) and OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington. OSF Saint James also operates medical clinics in the neighboring communities of Cullom, Dwight, Fairbury, Chenoa and Chatsworth. (Old Pontiac book you sent me mentioned something about a new hospital being built by St. James to replace the existing facility - true? completed?)
Three nursing homes in Pontiac provide compassionate care in a home-like setting to those requiring long-term medical care. All three work closely with local physicians and the staff of Saint James in offering such services as occupational and physical therapy, 24-hour nursing care, and post-operative care.
The full-service Livingston County Health Department directs its efforts toward communicable disease prevention, educating the community in health matters, and oversees environmental, maternal and childrens health protection, a prenatal care program and family planning counseling. LCHD serves area schools by providing health counseling and school nursing, and maintenance of immunization records. It also provides residents skilled nursing services including in-home nursing care, family health supervision, physical therapy and speech therapy. Home health aides are also available through LCHD.
The Institute for Human Resources in Pontiac provides outpatient and residential mental health and substance abuse services as well as group and family therapy, specialized programs for young victims of child abuse and programs for hyperactivity and other childhood disorders, and operates a 24-hour crisis line. IHR also conducts prevention programs for both schools and businesses. It offers innovative, intensive outreach to chronically ill patients and boasts one of the lowest rates of hospitalization in Illinois.
The city has made a commitment to the economic and social vitality of the community. By supporting downtown revitalization, it has helped maintain a thriving downtown business district and a "hub" for community activity. Diversification of the Citys economy has come through proactive efforts directed toward business retention, expansion and attraction.
The Pontiac city government has also sought to maintain the high quality of life to which residents have become accustomed, through parks and recreation programs, cooperation with local organizations, and prudent financial and development decisions.
Pontiac has an aldermanic, ward-type form of government with a mayor-council system. A city administrator directs the daily operations of the various municipal offices and departments, which include streets and alleys, wastewater treatment, cemetery, parks and recreation, community development, police and fire, rescue, and building safety.
The Pontiac Police Department serves the community with 22 sworn officers. Bicycle officers patrol Pontiacs streets and parks during the spring, summer and fall. Community outreach programs include D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) and G.R.E.A.T. (stands for ????) taught at local elementary and high schools.
The Citys full-time fire and rescue service has a fire protection rating of 5. Emergency services are complemented with paid-on-call and volunteer firefighters.[ top of page ]
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