The Village of Shabbona Economic Development Committee met with community and business leaders on December 12, 2017 to review the results of a study that examined potential economic development strategies for the area. The DeKalb County Community Foundation (DCCF) in partnership with the Village of Shabbona and Resource Bank funded the project. The next meeting will be on Wednesday April 4th from 6:30pm – 8pm at the Indian Creek High School in Shabbona to organize an implementation plan based on the study findings. Interested residents from Shabbona and the surrounding area are encouraged to attend and become actively involved in the project activities.
The development potential of the area region was examined by Norman Walzer and Mim Evans of the NIU Center for Governmental Studies as part of a countywide effort by DCCF to help communities realize their potential as places to live and work. Proximity to the Shabbona Lake State Park is a major asset to the area and attracts a large number of visitors each year. The study suggests that the Village of Shabbona investigate ways to provide additional entertainment options for these visitors building on existing local businesses but also to emphasizing additional offerings including arts, crafts, and locally-made products. Local artists and other groups can actively participate in these activities. Another option is to provide facilities such as modern cabins or “tiny houses” so that more visitors can stay overnight and take part in other activities.
“Shabbona has much to offer both residents and visitors due to recreational activities, high-performing schools, and reasonable housing” according to Jerry Foster chairperson for the Shabbona Economic Development Committee. “The results of this study will help the economic development committee organize around several themes and coordinate local efforts in marketing the area more effectively.”
The study findings also highlighted the need for additional state resources to help the Park maintain facilities and expand its offerings. A large proportion of the visitors are from the Chicago suburbs so strengthening the Shabbona area as a major destination is important to successful development in the southern DeKalb County region. The study also suggested designing programs to assist business start-ups in the area. Results of the economic development study are available at: www.shabbona-il.com in the Announcements section.
For additional information about the project and the meeting, contact Jerry Foster at 815-824-1212.