Monmouth will receive $10,000 from the inaugural Illinois Broadband Innovation Fund. The state received 113 applications for the grant program. Just 14 winners were selected.
Monmouth Director of Community Development Paul Schuytema said his city was the only municipality chosen.
“That’s pretty exciting, and to be a municipality that’s not like Chicago but a little bitty town of 9,400 people in the cornfields, it’s a great honor,” Schuytema said. “We’re looking forward to delivering some good work and sharing it.”
Monmouth will use its broad sidewalks around the town square to make the area more inviting while offering an opportunity for business expansion.
Community Director Paul Schuytema says the cafe seating ordinance will allow restaurants to provide outdoor seating on the public right-of-way on those broad sidewalks.
He says, “In light of the development that we're trying to do downtown...an ordinance like this becomes a really nice recruitment tool to bring restaurants that we don't yet have in the downtown into some of the areas that are going to be developed.”
Monmouth is a partner in a new survey that will provide a snapshot of the job skills of the workforce in western Illinois-and the the skills they might need.
Community Development Director Paul Schuytema said the survey has two goals. One is to provide a detailed picture of the area in light of the 2010 census data. He said any large firm looking at locating in the area will be concerned with the regional workforce instead of just that in one city. He said the second goal is to discover skill sets that are lacking in the region.
Monmouth wants to spur economic development in the downtown. Public meetings have shown residents would like to see a vigorous arts community develop downtown.
Community Development Director Paul Schuytema said the city will rehabilitate a building downtown into an art studio and gallery. The new project will create foot traffic and new business opportunities. He said the original plan was to offer artists studio and gallery space and apartments. A study showed that was not economically feasible.