OCEDC gets $100,000 of support from Ogle County ARPA funds

Ogle County Board members voted unanimously to financially support the 501(c)(3) nonprofit promoting local economic development

Ogle County Economic Development Corporation officers and other interested parties pose for a photo outside the Old Ogle County Courthouse on Aug. 17, 2023. Front row, left to right: ComEd Economic and Business Development Team member Karen Halstead; Comcast Government and Community Affairs manager Joan Sage; Ogle County Board Vice Chairperson Patricia Nordman; OCEDC Secretary and Mt. Morris EDC Executive Director Paula Diehl; Polo City Clerk Sydney Bartelt; Stillman Valley Village President Marty Typer; and ComEd External Affairs manager Nicolas Escobar. Back row, left to right: OCEDC Treasurer and Byron Mayor John Rickard; OCEDC President and Polo City Councilperson Randy Schoon; OCEDC Vice President and Oregon City Manager Darin DeHaan; OCEDC economic development consultant Chris Manheim; Oregon Mayor Ken Williams; and Ogle County Board Chairperson John Finfrock.

OREGON – A consolidated effort to promote the development, establishment and expansion of industries in Ogle County got some financial support from the county government Tuesday.

Ogle County Board members unanimously voted to allocate $100,000 of the county’s American Rescue Plan Act funds to the Ogle County Economic Development Corp.

The OCEDC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, private-public partnership that works to “coordinate economic development policies, programs and services for Ogle County, its communities, employers and residents,” according to the organization’s page on OgleCountyIL.gov.

Before the vote, OCEDC board Vice President Darin DeHaan spoke about the organization’s request for funds.

“There have been multiple efforts to try and create a cohesive countywide economic development entity that can kind of be a clearinghouse and a leader for economic development throughout the county,” said DeHaan, who also is Oregon’s city manager.

Since 2017, representatives of various Ogle County communities, utility companies and state and regional economic agencies have worked on and off to create what ultimately became the OCEDC, according to the OCEDC’s business plan published in September.

The OCEDC’s articles of incorporation were filed with the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office on April 21, and the Internal Revenue Service granted it 501(c)(3) nonprofit status effective the same date.

“What we’re asking for is your ultimate financial commitment, and your commitment as elected officials, to start driving Ogle County forward with economic development,” DeHaan told County Board members.

Oregon, Polo, Mount Morris and Byron all have committed to providing at least two years of financial support to the OCEDC.

Its board of directors currently includes President Randy Schoon of Polo, DeHaan, Secretary Paula Diehl of Mount Morris, Treasurer John Rickard of Byron, Ogle County Board Chairman John Finfrock, Ogle County Board Vice Chairwoman Patricia Nordman and Karen Halstead of ComEd.

The OCEDC is in the process of finalizing a contract with an executive director, whom DeHaan declined to name; however, he said, “He was in the top 50 economic development developers.”

“We’re seeing cohesiveness and cooperation,” DeHaan said. “We’ve kind of torn down the barriers [between communities] – those borders that seemed to exist in the past – and are all working together.”

Alexa Zoellner

Alexa Zoellner

Alexa Zoellner reports on Lee, Ogle and Whiteside counties for Shaw Media out of the Dixon office. Previously, she worked for the Record-Eagle in Traverse City, Michigan, and the Daily Jefferson County Union in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.