News - McHenry County

Woodstock awarded nearly $3 million from state for its Opera House, various downtown projects

Woodstock received almost max amount

The city of Woodstock has been announced as the recipient of nearly $3 million from the state that will go toward various downtown improvements, officials said.

The funds, from Rebuild Illinois Downtown and Main Streets Capital Program, were announced on Monday as part of $106 million total given out to 50 different municipalities, corridors and downtown areas, according to a press release from Woodstock.

The money from the state will be paired with $1.6 million the city pledged to help complete $4.6 million in downtown projects, the release states. Those projects include improvements to the city’s square and the Woodstock Opera House. The opera house’s improvements will “create a state-of-the-art facility offering year-round cultural experiences in theatre, music, dance, speaking and cinematic arts for residents and visitors.”

“This is an incredible win for the city today,” Mayor Mike Turner said in the release. “This infusion of funding will help catapult Woodstock even further in terms of economic development, tourism and community enjoyment.”

Those improvements specifically will include window restoration, upgrading the stage lights and a video wall, along with backstage and auditorium renovations, and new seating, the release states. Stage Left Cafe also will be remodeled.

In the downtown, improvements will include lighting and electrical upgrades, bandstand and spring house renovations, and an electronic kiosk on the city’s square, the release states. This will provide information on events and attractions.

All of the projects that will be helped already were in the city’s 10-year plan, meaning the money will expedite the process.

City Manager Roscoe Stelford in the release gave thanks to Grants Manager Terry Willcockson and Executive Director Christina Betz, along with those in the Public Works Department for their work in putting the grant together.

“This win, combined with the T-Mobile Hometown Techover grant won in 2021, represents a significant and impactful outside investment in our community over the past 12 months,” Stelford said in the release.

The money came through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, according to a release Monday from Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office. The funds were part of a plan to support projects that will help modernize and beautify downtowns, and address infrastructure and job needs.

“With that upgraded infrastructure comes economic opportunity: more jobs, more business growth, and more money pouring into the communities that need it most — and that’s what Rebuild Illinois is all about,” Pritzker said in the release.