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Local

Diamond aims to boost economy in 2016

Kernc also wants to improve residents’ quality of life

Terry Kernc
Terry Kernc

DIAMOND – For a village of about 2,500, Diamond is taking an aggressive approach to economic development, according to Mayor Terry Kernc.

The top priority for
Diamond in 2016 is to widen Route 113 from Will Road to Interstate 55 to three lanes, Kernc said.

“This will make it attractive and easy for developers because the roadway is already in place for them,” Kernc said. “It expedites the process.”

The village titled the project Service Transportation Program 2, and it is designed to bring commercial development to the municipality, which already has prime access to I-55. Diamond was able to secure about $2 million from the federal government for the project, Kernc said.

Property owners and developers are pitching in and the village is paying a portion through motor fuel tax revenue.

“If we left it as is, it’d probably take two years to do because the Illinois Department of Transportation approval process is lengthy,” Kernc said. “This is a great example of a public-private partnership.”

Grundy Economic Development Council CEO Nancy Norton Ammer said she commends the mayor and Village Board for working hard to get the project going.

“As the economy has bounced back, we see businesses willing to invest again,” Norton Ammer said. “The more site-ready your community is, the more attractive it is to developers.”

In August, the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity approved 49 enterprise zones – one of which is along Route 113 in Diamond.

The enterprise zone program was created in 1982 to stimulate economic growth and revitalization in depressed areas of the state, according to the IDCEO website. The zones guarantee sales tax abatements and local taxing districts are free to negotiate further tax incentives within the stimulus areas.

The second priority for
Diamond in 2016, Kernc said, is to install a stoplight system at the intersection of Route 113 and Will Road. The goal is to get the project done by the end of summer. Kernc said the village is awaiting word on an enterprise zone loan for the project.

“This is another part of promoting economic development,” she said.

The third priority figures to improve recreation and navigability for pedestrians. Diamond was awarded in 2014 more than $160,000 from IDOT to construct a bike path through the center of the village.

Kernc said it’s important to get the project done this year. The asphalt path will be about 1,600 feet long, beginning at Amber Lane, running north and east to the Claypool Drainage Ditch and continuing on to McGinty Street.

The total project will cost about $200,000 with the remaining $40,000 to be funded through local matching.

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DIAMOND’S TOP 2016 PRIORITIES

• Widen Route 113 to three lanes from Will Road east to Interstate 55

• Install traffic lights at intersection of Will Road and Route 113

• Construct bike path through center of village, providing safe route for bikers, joggers and walkers

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