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Local

Former mayor played key role in plant project

Blanton: ‘He was a person who cared about the community’

ROCK FALLS – Former Mayor Mason “Mace” Bell liked to visit the city’s electric plant just about every day during his time with the city. He was credited with playing a key role in getting the hydroelectric plant.

Bell was appointed as mayor after the death of Mayor Jim Arduini in July 1991. Bell stayed in that position until the April 1993 election. He didn’t run for another term.

Bell, 91, who died Saturday at CGH Medical Center in Sterling, joined the City Council in 1985 at the same time as the current mayor, David Blanton, who served two terms as an alderman.

As an alderman, Bell headed the committee in charge of the municipal electric utility. He was credited with helping secure the funds for the hydro plant.

“That was something that the city of Rock Falls had thought about for a long time,” said his son, Randy Bell, 60.

Blanton recalled Bell’s involvement in the electric utility, saying his colleague was deeply involved.

“He was a person who cared about the community,” the mayor said.

Bell’s son said his father was with the city when it improved the exterior of City Hall to make it more energy efficient and brought a large employer to town.

Bell was a tool and die maker and machinist for Northwestern Steel and Wire in Sterling for 25 years. He moved up to the position of general foreman for the company’s machine shops, his son said.

He also served on the Rock Falls Elementary School District 13 board.

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