Light industrial development is coming to farmland along Grove Street, Esta Drive, and Washington Road in Prophetstown.

Prophetstown Annexes Farmland for Development

By Sarah Ford, Managing Editor

The Prophetstown City Council took the next steps to develop farmland in the southwest corner of the city at their meeting on Tuesday, June 11.
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In August 2023, the city purchased 8.7 acres of farmland along Grove Street, Esta Drive, and Washington Road from Gerald Halpin for $90,000, with an intent to develop it for light industrial use.

On Tuesday, the council voted to officially annex the property, approve the subdivision plat, accept the right of way, and set a minimum asking price of $10,000 per lot, effective August 1. Mayor Steve Swanson said the lots measure 300 ft. by 300 ft. and one out of the five will likely be sold right away.  

Attorney Matt Cole advised the council on the sale process for municipalities, saying it must be done either by realtor or by ordinance. If they go with the ordinance method, they’ll have to publish it in the newspaper at a cost of around $1,300, though a realtor will have associated costs as well. They could also have an industrial park committee made up of community members, but that would take control out of the council’s hands. However, this option is better suited for larger communities with more land to sell, not just five lots.   

The council also approved a bid by Stichter’s Construction of Erie to install water and sewer lines at the site at a cost of $62,000, with payment coming from the water and sewer funds. The work consists of 600 ft. of sewer line from the lift station along Springhill Road plus installation of a manhole at a cost of $4,500. It will be up to the buyers to tie into the city’s systems. Swanson said Dietz Brothers Concrete offered to mow the lots for free until they’re sold.

A view of the lots from Washington Road.

In other action, the council approved a 3-year contract extension with Republic Services, though it was not unanimous. The waste disposal rate will be $15.22 through July 2025, then up to $17.03 from 2025-2026, then $17.80 from 2026-2027. With two alderpersons absent, the four in attendance were split on the decision so Swanson cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of the contract. The city’s current contract with Republic was set to expire at the end of June.

The council approved a $200 sponsorship for the Firecracker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, and a $250 donation to the Winning Wheels Summer Concert Series in the park. They approved getting quotes from SMB of Sterling for a printer/scanner/fax machine for the Police Department.  

They approved a resolution for the city’s electrical aggregation contract with Rock River Energy, though the price hasn’t been given yet. Swanson said the city’s rates are tied to Sterling and Fulton, so they’re “waiting on a convergence” between the three cities for the final number. Swanson said they’ll accept the lowest bid, estimated around $15.52 per month per household.

Swanson reported that StradaComm is still waiting on a permit to bring their fiber optic line across the Rock River bridge, so they bought into a line already in place in the city and will start installing from there. The council also approved three building permits for reroofing.  

Chief of Police Monthly Report

Police Chief Jerrod Reynolds is currently working on their new state system, “Central Square,” and a training syllabus for joint operations between Police, Fire and EMS agencies to prepare for any major incidents. Officer Lukehart attended pistol close quarters battle and Reynolds attended patrol rifle instructor.

The 2021 Tahoe had a tire blowout enroute to a call, so new tires were ordered and put on. The 2021 Explorer serpentine belt broke and had to be replaced. Officers are currently working on seizing vehicles in their impound. Officer Vandellen has been addressing the ordinance issues in town.    

The department’s annual Dick Brown Fishing Derby is on Saturday, June 15 at Prophetstown State Recreation Area, with the first of three age groups starting at 8 a.m. There will be prizes for all attendees and winners.

The meeting ended with an Executive Session for personnel, though no action was taken. The next regular meeting of the Prophetstown City Council will be on Tuesday, July 9 at 7 p.m. at the City Hall.

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