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Local

Sterling enterprise zone could add 15 jobs

Change needs additional approvals

STERLING – Sterling could get 15 new jobs as a result of an expanded enterprise zone.

On Monday night, the Sterling and Rock Falls City councils both unanimously approved an ordinance amending the Whiteside County Enterprise Zone to include a portion of Lee Wayne Plaza, the strip mall on the southwest corner of the East Lincolnway and Freeport Road intersection.

The ordinance was approved during a joint meeting between the Sterling and Rock Falls City councils to vote on the intergovernmental agreement to consolidate the administrative functions of the fire departments.

The addition would include all of the strip mall, with the exception of Blackhawk Lanes, the bowling alley located at 2325 E. Lincolnway, said Betty Steinert, an enterprise zone and economic development administrator with Whiteside County.

Developers Breck Loos and Sheri Loos are planning to purchase the portion of the strip mall for approximately $2.25 million and renovate it, bringing in 10 construction jobs, the county said.

Breck Loos couldn't be reached for comment.

Once the renovation is complete, the project will create an estimated 15 jobs and retain 45 jobs.

While a finalized plan for the renovated strip mall hasn't been presented to the county, Steinert said she believes the new jobs will be office jobs, and that the developers are willing to work with the mall's current businesses.

The ordinance must be approved by all 11 municipalities and counties within the enterprise zone. In addition to Sterling and Rock Falls, approval must come from Morrison, Fulton, Prophetstown, Lyndon, Savanna, Thomson, Mount Carroll, Whiteside County and Carroll County.

If OK'd by all 11, it will then go to the state for approval, which could happen in the first or second week of October, Steinert said, adding that the state has 90 days to respond.

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