Community Pulse: ‘On the shoulders of giants’

With the change in seasons, the momentum in Morris is only building. This summer, we welcomed tens of thousands of visitors to Goold Park and our Downtown through new and expanded festivals. We rolled out new and updated signage, a billboard and favorable community survey results to possibly bring passenger rail service back to our city. Dedicated volunteers, engaged residents and visionary leaders remain the driving force. The months ahead will be especially exciting.

The city is following through on recommendations in the 2020 Downtown Master Plan. Following a land swap with the Morris Fire Protection & Ambulance District, which will construct a new station at Route 47 and Armstrong Street, the City acquired the downtown fire stations. This created an opportunity to construct long-awaited public restrooms in the west building. The work will be complete ahead of our retailers’ busiest shopping season.

Additionally, Public Works started on destination signage at the parking lot at Route 47 and Chapin Street. They will erect “MORRIS” in 5-foot steel letters, outlined in the colors of the city logo. Picnic tables, landscaping and an informational kiosk will surround them, creating a clear connection to our Downtown. The plaza is an ideal spot for photos and enjoying local fare from food trucks. The former Morris Downtown Development Partnership paid for the letters as a legacy gift to the city.

MDDP also purchased a replacement sound system for Downtown. Combined with volunteer labor from members of the Morris Cruise Night Committee, this project is not only underway, but under budget. The new system will offer clear, consistent sound and can be managed remotely. Downtown will be without music during transition from the thirty-five-year-old system to the new one.

Inquiries from new businesses are increasing. Small shops actively seek out our Downtown. National brands are courting space along our state highways, and larger operations recognize the advantages of locating in the Brisbin Road corridor. Morris continues to be a desirable place to live, work and invest.

While there are new initiatives on the horizon, our city is built on tradition. You can be a part of them by volunteering for beloved upcoming events like the 73rd Grundy County Corn Festival or Home for the Holidays. Whether you are into the arts or autos, running or rocking the block, craft beer or competition barbecue, there are plenty of opportunities for you or your business to get involved in our community.

When Isaac Newton spoke about “standing on the shoulders of giants,” he described learning from the ideas and influence of others. Morris’ history is comprised of giants- visionary leaders and doers whose eyes were set on possibility. Many are still among us. Through events, partnerships, marketing and other economic development strategies, we honor their contributions by both preserving and showcasing the unique character of our community.

There’s more to Morris!