Two Spring Valley groups, Partners for Progress and Spring Valley Boosters, want to combine efforts in order to make the city a better place.
Both groups are made up of city officials, residents, business owners and other community members who want to promote the city and help it grow. Spring Valley Boosters hosts events such as a father-daughter dance, Christmas in the Valley and a drum corps competition.
Partners for Progress has done such projects like painting the background of the wooden fence on West St. Paul Street with black silhouette figures and fixing the façade of a business at 101. E. St. Paul St. The group also brought many ideas to the city council, including the recently-passed ordinance to allow “street ready” golf carts in the business area of the city.
The two groups held a combined meeting Thursday night to discuss how they could cooperate to improve the city. City economic director Debb Ladgenski said she wanted to bring the two groups together because both lacked the manpower to accomplish big tasks. Also, Partners for Progress lacked the funding Spring Valley Boosters has — the boosters conduct events in the community. She said the two groups did not have to combine into one but could work together.
“I see a lot of potential for partnerships and cooperation in order for us to continue to do things,” said Ladgenski. “There is always an issue of us not being able to have enough people to man the events.”
She said the meeting was about finding a way to work together and generate ideas to help make Spring Valley better.
Hall High School board president Jack Boroski said he remembers when Spring Valley had lots of clubs; many have disbanded due to lack of interest. He said he would like to see a lot of community events which have gone away come back. He said they should try to get younger people involved in the group.
“There is just a good basis for everything here. It could really be a good time to make this take off,” he added.
Ladgenski said the group also has been working on branding for the city. Local Illinois Department of Transportation spokesperson Julia Messina said she has been working with several groups about placing their names and designs on the attractions board on Interstate 80 near the Spring Valley exit. These places include Echo Bluff Park, the new gun range, the archery club and Barto Landing. Messina said the signs should help to bring in people off of I-80 and into town.
“We need to be ready for this,” she said. “Which means we need to have stuff to offer these people.”
Ladgenski said the group also is looking at way-finding signs like the ones in Utica. The idea was presented to the city council earlier this year, and the council said there was no money for that. Ladgenski said she hoped the group or city would be able to find money for them soon.
Another event Ladgenski wanted to take advantage of was the city’s recent sister city partnership with Acquaria di Montecreto in Italy. She said many families in Spring Valley have connections with Italy, especially this town. She said she would like to see the “Italian Fest” come back, even if it was done to a smaller scale than it was years ago.
Sales tax hike?
The last thing that Ladgenski mentioned to the group was the city was considering a half a percent designated sales tax increase which would go toward paying for sidewalk and street improvements in town. She said the city would need to pass a resolution by December for the issue to appear on the ballot in spring. Ladgenski said state Motor Fuel Tax funds have not been to the level the city needed to make improvements around town to the streets and sidewalks, and the tax would help.
“If we add a half a percent sales tax in Spring Valley, we could generate another $65,000,” she said.
Currently, Spring Valley has one of the lowest sales tax rates in the area at 6.75 percent. Even with a 0.5- percent increase, it would be lower than Peru’s 7½-percent sales tax. Ladgenski said she wished someone from the two groups would help run a campaign for the sales tax — she cannot because she works for the city.
Mayor Walt Marini said he was still not sure if the council would pass the resolution by the end of the year, because many of the council members thought it was not a good time. Group members agreed that many residents might not like the idea, since the referendum for the new high school was just passed this year. Ladgenski said people would support it if they understood it’s for improving streets and sidewalks.
Alicia LeGrand-Riniker can be reached at (815) 220-6931 or email@example.com.