5 projects in 2024 we’re watching in La Salle, Bureau, Putnam counties

These projects will have an impact on their communities

AJ Querciagrossa, Western Region CEO, OSF HealthCare announces the reopening of St. Margarets clinic in Spring Valley and the Oglesby clinic during the OSF Community Breakfast Regional Update on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023 at Senicas Oak Ridge in La Salle.

The Illinois Valley underwent two major closings in 2023.

St. Margaret’s hospitals in Peru and Spring Valley closed, with Peru’s facility shutting down in January and Spring Valley in June, leaving the La Salle, Peru, Oglesby and Spring Valley area without an emergency room.

OSF plans to open a hospital with an emergency room in Peru, but the timetable is uncertain.

An OSF HealthCare clinic is scheduled to open Jan. 11 in Spring Valley and Jan. 16 in Oglesby.

OSF is working through a series of regulatory hurdles needed to reopen the hospital. OSF completed the acquisition of Peru and other properties on Nov. 17 but there still is work to be done.

Residents of the entire La Salle, Bureau and Putnam counties region will watching as the lack of an emergency room and full-time hospital has put pressure on other facilities in Ottawa, Mendota and Princeton to help carry the load.

A new YMCA in Ottawa

A view of the indoor track inside the new YMCA building on Thursday, Oct., 19, 2023 in Ottawa. The indoor walking/running track above weaves around the wellness area and above the gymnasium.

The long-awaited YMCA on Ottawa’s riverfront is expected to open in spring.

The opening of the 67,000-square-foot, $26 million building is anticipated to begin the transformation of the city’s riverfront development.

The facility includes a multi-use gymnasium, an integrated health and wellness center for exercise and prevention, a natatorium with a competition pool and warm water therapy pool, group exercise studios, kids’ adventure center, child watch areas, family locker rooms and multi-generational spaces for seniors and teens. It also will have a community living room concept for socialization and gathering spaces, as well as a community kitchen for healthy eating and designated clinical space for the YMCA’s partner OSF.

The campaign still is taking donations. To make a donation toward the Capital Campaign, go to https://www.ottawaymca.org/support-the-y/ymca-capital-campaign or contact the Y at 815-433-2395.

New Ollie’s Bargain Barn warehouse in Princeton

A 1962 Sikorsky helicopter lifts one of 10 heating and air conditioning units onto the roof of the new Ollie’s Bargain Outlet warehouse near the intersection of Interstate 80 and Illinois Route 26 in Princeton on Friday morning. The helicopter, according to an employee of Midwest Helicopters in Willowbrook, has a maximum lifting capacity of 5,000 pounds, so it managed to handle with ease the units that ranged in weight from 1,000 to 2,500 pounds in less than half an hour.

The 615,000 square foot Ollie’s Bargain Outlet distribution center in Princeton will create about 200 full-time jobs in the Illinois Valley. The warehouse is being built near Route 26 north of Interstate 80.

The facility is expected to be a large part of the company’s growth in the Midwest. The center will serve stores throughout Illinois and surrounding states.

Its opening comes at a time when Bureau County is losing a major employer. Monterey Mushrooms confirmed it will close two of its mushroom growing locations by the end of January 2024, including the facilities in Princeton and Orlando, Florida.

How will Marseilles adapt to IV Cellular building?

The Illinois Valley Cellular building is being eyed by the city of Marseilles to become the next City Hall and police department.

By a 3-2 vote, the Marseilles City Council approved the purchase of the Illinois Valley Cellular building at 200 Riverfront Drive.

The council bought the building and 6 acres of land around it for $1.35 million, including the Middle East Conflicts Wall. The council’s idea is to move Marseilles City Hall and the police station to the new location.

The city also will spend about $950,000 to renovate the building to make it compliant for police use.

How the project will develop and what impact it will have on not only the development of that location, but also the current City Hall and police station locations are among the stories that will take shape in 2024.

The future of the historic Red Covered Bridge in Princeton

A view looking east at the Red Covered Bridge on Monday, Dec. 11, 2023 in Princeton. An Illinois Department of Transportation crew started repairs on the historic structure. The bridge was severely damaged when it was struck by a semi truck on Nov. 16.

The historic Red Covered Bridge was struck when the driver of a semitrailer truck tried to pass through it, damaging the 149-foot structure and the semi.

Temporary supports are being installed at the historic Red Covered Bridge in Princeton to ensure the existing damage to the structure doesn’t worsen or create additional issues.

“The supports will remain in place until permanent repairs can be made to the bridge, which will remain closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic,” said Paul Wappel of the Illinois Department of Transportation. “The department won’t have any recommendations on permanent repairs or restoration measures until a full assessment of the bridge is completed.”

The bridge is a significant icon of Princeton and Bureau County, drawing tourists to the picturesque bridge. It also is a source of pride for the city, as many of its residents have memories built around it.

The assessments will give residents an idea of what’s next for the bridge.