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Column: A changing environment in Twin Cities

In recent weeks, the community has learned about a good deal of new development in the Twin Cities.

Sterling couple Raul and Jackie Molina are tearing down three condemned buildings on West Second, in the heart of downtown Rock Falls, to make way for a sports bar and grill. Crews began the demolition work Tuesday.

The establishment will offer a variety of food.

A few weeks prior to this announcement, officials said a Chicago-based property management company is bringing a new retail business to the former Walgreen building at 1000 First Ave.

This news comes after City Building Inspector Mark Searing told me about the 11 buildings the city condemned in 2012. Searing said the effort is part of Rock Falls’ plan to clean up and improve neighborhoods.

The city is planning the same fate for other structures this spring.

When condemned buildings are taken down, it means room for new businesses and ventures.

It’s exciting to see new development being planned for the city. It’s also promising that local residents are investing time and money in their own communities.

A similar effort to change the landscape is under way in Sterling. The Sterling Today development group has a plan to improve Light Street, the alley that runs from Second to Fourth streets downtown.

The alley runs right past the old Sterling Theater, which is being renovated and soon will see new life as a “brew and view” beer, wine, food and movie venue.

When it’s all said and done, the group hopes patrons will fall in love with downtown Sterling again, and spend time there supporting businesses.

Not long ago, Sauk Valley Media sponsored a forum featuring Jack Schultz, author of “Boomtown USA: The 7 1⁄2 Keys to Big Success in Small Towns.”

In his book, Schultz said one of the keys to success is to encourage an entrepreneurial approach. Communities must leave their comfort zone and take calculated risks to see success, he wrote.

“Towns that see change as a necessary component of community health will stay a step ahead, remain prosperous or get on the road to revitalization,” he wrote.

Citizens and civic leaders in Sterling and Rock Falls should be applauded for taking steps to change the existing environment. It’s necessary in order to grow and move ahead.

Sauk Valley Media reporter Kiran Sood covers government and happenings in Sterling and Rock Falls. She can be reached at or at 800-798-4085, ext. 529.

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