HEYWORTH A group of people spanning three mayoral administrations formally welcomed the beginning of a $75 million development on Heyworth’s southwest side.
Mayor Steve Crum presided over a ceremonial groundbreaking Monday to mark the start of Prairie Meadows subdivision. About two dozen people attended the ceremony, which included current and former mayors and trustees, the development’s project manager and others with a personal or financial interest.
"This has been nine years in the making," Crum said. "All these former trustees and mayors I know have put a lot of work into this. I’m just fortunate enough to be the mayor to see the final step in this."
Mark Shader of Missouri-based Bridge Real Estate LLC said his company wants to provide an addition to the community that its residents can be proud of.
"We sent a survey out that we got over a 50 percent response to," Shader noted. "That shows a lot about how much this village wants to see this happen and wants to have a say in what’s going here."
The development is expected to feature a mix of single-family, town-homes, villas, multi-family homes and commercial development along the south side of U.S. 136. Shader said the beginning of site work is on the fast track.
"In the next week or so, we’ll have the final plat ready for the board’s approval that will start the chain of events where we can actually get to the heavier construction and start doing infrastructure and streets," said Shader. "Our ultimate goal is to get houses and buildings going up before the snow flies this year."
The village board later Monday approved Shader’s permit with the Illinois Department of Transportation to allow construction of a street off U.S. 136 into the development.
Former mayor Gary Simpkins was pleased to see the project finally get underway. "It’s absolutely great," Simpkins exclaimed. "We fought and won two world wars faster than we’ve gotten this thing done."
Following the first turn of ceremonial gold shovels, Simpkins scooped another shovelful of dirt and flung it into the air as a tribute to Jim Beveridge, late editor of The Heyworth Star and a former village trustee who was involved in the early stages of the project. Beveridge’s wife, Nancy, assisted Simpkins.
"Jim said I want to see dirt flying in the air,’" Simpkins said. "He finally got it."