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Groups movin' on up: Agencies to call Fifth Third Bank new home

DIXON – Main Street, Petunia Festival and Riverfront boards are moving their offices to the second floor of the Fifth Third Bank building downtown at the beginning of June.

They are hoping other public organizations will follow.

The goal is to bring together a unified Dixon, where several public organizations can work together under one roof, said Josh Albrecht, Dixon Main Street executive director.

Attempts to consolidate Dixon Main Street, the Riverfront Commission and Dixon Tourism into one agency may have fallen short this winter, but working in one space would be “a huge positive, as far as not only sharing resources and being close to work together, but also for residents and visitors to have one place to go to find all these groups,” Albrecht said.

Dixon Area Chamber of Commerce, Dixon Tourism and Lee County Tourism have been invited to join them, and are deciding whether to make the move.

The space at 121 S. Galena Ave. has eight offices, a kitchen and a locked storage area in the basement. The offices line the perimeter of the second floor with a sizable open area in the middle, where conferences and meetings can be conducted.

It used to be the home of Ward, Murray, Pace & Johnson law offices, before it moved to River Street.

The chamber formed a task force, which plans to view the space next week and make a recommendation at its May meeting.

Fifth Third is renting the space for $1 a year, said Pat Huisinga, its financial center manager.

Main Street owns its 115 S. Hennepin Ave. spot. The three other entities pay a monthly rent. The chamber is on the second floor of Heritage Square, 101 W. Second St. Dixon Tourism’s Welcome Center is at 106 W. River St. and Lee County Tourism is at 113 S. Peoria Ave., in the Telegraph office.

Albrecht got the idea while giving fourth-graders an architectural tour of the downtown.

“He said ‘This is really nice,’ and I told him there’s really been no interest from anyone else,” Huisinga said. “The strength of this building is its visibility. It’s right at a major intersection [Galena Avenue and First Street]. The space has been just sitting here, so we’re happy to give it a nice adaptive reuse.”

The lower portion of Fifth Third Bank’s sign will list the entities that make the second floor home, to help with their visibility.

The move will allow Main Street to use its former office space as an incubator for startup businesses.

The idea is that a business could occupy the space for a trial period under a reduced rent of $300 to $400. Rent in downtown Dixon on average costs about $700 to $900 a month.

Meanwhile, Main Street would work with the business owner to find a permanent location.

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