Freeport area organizations consolidate to promote economic deve - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Freeport area organizations consolidate to promote economic development and tourism

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STEPHENSON COUNTY (WREX) -

Four major economic drivers in Stephenson County are combining resources all under on roof to promote tourism and development in the Freeport area. 

"From a message perspective, just really get people all on the same page and really work together," said Stephenson County Convention and Visitor Bureau board member Ross Vehmeier.

Moving forward, the Freeport Downtown Development Foundation along with the Freeport Area Chamber of Commerce, Northwest Illinois Development Association and the Stephenson County Visitors Bureau will work together under one name and one mission, to promote growth in Stephenson County. 

That growth includes attracting more businesses as well as tourists to the area and creating a one-stop-shop for possible investors to learn how they can put down roots. 

"To really generate a single mission, to attract families here, to attract businesses here, and not only to Freeport but Stephenson County," said Freeport City Manager Lowell Crow.

The group will also have a combined budget.

More money and more resources, organizations like the Freeport Downtown Development says it didn't have when it was on its own.

"There are times during the year, where they work 80 to 90 hours a week because there are not a simply enough time to get everything done that needs to be done," said FDDF board member Brooke Deininger.

However, with this new collaboration, Freeport area leaders says they're ready to launch a marketing campaign to fully promote the area as a go to destination, not just for Stateline travelers, but for the Midwest as a whole. 

"We're also targeting areas up around Madison saying we have some destination weekends," said Crow.

A big push that local business say could have a big impact. 

"Being able to bring more people to Freeport as a destination is going to work out perfect for us," said Deininger.

"I think it's a no-brainer because there's really cool stuff here," said Vehmeier.

And with organizations all in for tourism and economic development, area leaders say there's nothing holding them back from putting Stephenson County on the map.

Freeport leaders say they are in the process of transitioning these organizations to be under one new leadership board. It hopes to finish the transition by June.

They haven't decided on the final name for the new organization. It's temporary name is "NewCo." 

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