The Illinois Valley Area encompasses an area of more than 600 square miles along the illinois River, 90 miles southwest of Chicago, at the intersection of two major interstates (I-39 & I-80).

The Illinois Valley Area Chamber and Economic Development Development (IVAC) area incorporates portions of four counties ( Bureau, La Salle, Marshall and Putnam) including the Cities of Lasalle, Oglesby, Peru, Spring Valley and Wenona and 19 surrounding Villages.

The area offers a diverse economy served by a skilled and industrious work force, and fed by an excellent education system.

In the Illinois Valley Area, you will find a magnificent blend of natural beauty (three beautiful State Parks), history (dating back to the early 1600's), recreational opportunities (year round) and a rapidly economic base (both commercial and industrial growth).

Please take a short visual tour of the Illinois Valley as you persue this booklet, until you have an opportunity to visit personally.

Welcome to the Illinois Valley Area! ...........a perfect location in which to live and conduct business.

Barb Koch

Executive Director

Illinois Valley Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development (IVAC)

The Illinois Valley Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development, a non-for-profit volunteer business organization originally formed in 1910, continues the original mission to

"promote the general industrial, commercial and civic welfare of the area."

Communities Served

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Retail and service outlets in the Illinois Valley serve a market area of 15,000 people in LaSalle, Bureau, Putnam, and Marshall counties and meet most consumer needs and attract shoppers from a large geographical area. Residents have an average annual income of about $32,600. As a result, retail sales in the Illinois Valley reach more than $400.5 million annually. Sales in the quad-county area exceed $1.5 billion each year.

In LaSalle's downtown business district one will find restaurants, retail establishments, a variety of services, beauty salons, and more.

Peru's Fourth Street is a downtown retail center where merchants and a variety of professional services prosper. Peru is currently involved in redeveloping its downtown area. Already constructed is a beautiful city plaza where an elegant eight-foot bronze statue of Maud Powell stands erect. (Maud Powell was born in Peru in 1867 and became a famous violinist.) A number of new buildings have been constructed, with more in the planning stages. Older downtown building are receiving facelifts and expansions are also taking place.

A favorite attraction for both browsers and buyers is the regional Peru Mall, a facility employing more than 1,000 persons. An average of 32,000 people from the Illinois Valley and surrounding region visit the mall on a weekly basis. Anchored by three major department stores, the mall houses approximately 70 stores, including beauty salons, eight cinemas, a game room, and inviting places to eat. The Peru Mall also features entertainment for both children and adults.

In addition to downtown and mall shopping, neighborhood convenience centers are scattered throughout the communities and are ideal for neighborhood shopping. Oglesby, Spring Valley, Wenona, and the smaller communities in the Illinois Valley have their own downtown retail centers where many daily family needs are satisfied.

The numerous restaurants in the Illinois Valley offer a variety of attractive cuisine and delightful atmospheres. There are also plenty of well-located, family-style and fast-food restaurants where prices fit easily into the family budget.

Major motel chains and smaller motels and hotels provide a total of over 1,000 units for business travelers and vacationers. Many offer rooms for meetings and seminars as well as recreational facilities.

Local radio stations, WLPO/WAJK, WLRZ, WAIV and WALS broadcast AM and FM programming and provide coverage of national and community events. Cable television services distribute major net - works and a variety of movie, news, and entertainment channels. The News-Tribune, a regional newspaper is published daily except Sunday and reports local, state, national, and international news to a reading public of over 21,500. In addition, the Bureau County Republic and the Putnam County Record newspapers also circulate in the Illinois Valley.

Investment capital, sound financial advice, and a full range of services are offered by the financial institutions of the Illinois Valley. Twenty-two banks and three savings and loan associations, with their combined assets exceeding $1.5 billion, serve the people and businesses of this industrious community.

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Excellence in education, a tradition in the Illinois Valley area, is reflected in extensive public and private school systems, skilled teaching staffs, and diverse curriculums.

Set among some 4,000 acres of oaks, walnut, and prime forest, Illinois Valley Community College's picturesque campus overlooks the Illinois River Valley south of Peru. Illinois Valley Community College's picturesque campus overlooks the Illinois River Valley south of Peru.

IVCC is a comprehensive two-year institution with a reputation for producing graduates who excel academically and on the job. Pride in student success is so strong that the college has adopted a marketing slogan that reads: "No place so close can take you so far.

Year after year, grade point average reports provide IVCC graduates are flourishing at Illinois" senior universities. Part of the reason for IVCC's academic success is a commitment that puts student interests first. Each of the 4,000 full and 3,000 part-time students has easy access to instructors and to academic advising. Additionally, the reason for alumni achievement is a highly qualified and experienced faculty whose primary mission is teaching - not research or publishing. And, FVCC has a sterling reputation for offering courses that transfer to senior universities.

IVCC offers two-year Associate in Art and Associate in Science programs. Arts degrees range from the visual arts to computer science; Science degrees span from engineering to nursing. RVCC also offers 13 career programs which award Associate in Applied Science degrees, and 24 certificate programs. Each is designed for employment after two years or less.

Customized training for area businesses and industries is available through the college's office of Business and Industrial Services. Long a recognized leader in high technology training, IVCC boasts a state-of-the-art Automated Manufacturing Center.

The college remains affordable and accessible to residents of its 17,000-square-mile district. It has at least a half dozen extension sites, plus a modern distance learning studio which transmits courses to area high schools.

Up to 4,000 area residents take advantage of non-credit enrichment courses conducted through the college's Continuing Education Office.

Illinois Valley's eight high schools and vocational center offer courses ranging from Shakespeare to German, plus computer programming, beauty culture, and farm management. There are advanced and independent courses of study, structured classes, remedial reading labs, and comprehensive special education program at all levels. Total enrollment in The Valley's high schools is about 4,300.

One of the areas largest high schools is LaSalle-Peru Township High School (LP), with an enrollment of about 1,250 students. It is housed in a handsome Tudor-Gothic complex on 17 acres about midway between downtown LaSalle and downtown Peru. Its facilities include an impressive newly renovated downtown LaSalle and Downtown Peru. Its facilities include an impressive newly renovated 4,000-seat football stadium, an indoor pool, a beautifully appointed auditorium, a gymnasium seating 2,600, and a library containing more than 40,900 volumes.

LP provides a technologically sound environment to prepare student for the future. Available to LP students are IBM computer labs, used for both writing and business purposes. Its Library is equipped with multimedia computers for referencing. They are hooked up to the internet, allowing students and faculty worldwide access. the school also has a home page on the internet.

LP offers basic nd advanced academics, as well as career training. Besides several Advanced Placement courses, the high school has incorporated the new "LP Academy" program into its curriculum. The LP Academy consists of teams of four teachers who integrate four separate subjects in order to make school more practical an relevant for students and relate school to the world of work.

In 1955, LP implemented an extended school day allowing students a full seven course selection. LP offers a wide range of extracurricular activities as well as a competitive athletic programs. The high school is also home to the LaSalle-Peru Area Career Center, a cooperative school for LP and other area high schools that offers 14 different career programs.

Hall High School is a secondary ninth through twelfth school with an enrollment of 495 students and a staff of 50 professionals. The school offers a wide range of academic,vocational, and co-curricular courses, plus interscholastic sport programs.

Additionally, Hall High School has earned a repuation as an innovative school by developing highly motivational programs for students. The school progressively updates its computer lab, and has a modern word-processing lab, as well as a CAD (computer Aided Drafting) lab. The library is linked with the internet, allowing students unlimited resources for research projects.

Academically, Hall is very competitive, always placing near the top in Scholastic Bowl contest with other area schools . Each year, 75 percent of Hall's graduates continue their education at the college and university level.

The Hall Red Devils have become perennial contenders in regional, sectional, and state play-offs in basketball, football, and track. The Hall Red Devils Football Team achieved its ultimate goal in 1955, by becoming the Class 3A State Champions. In music, the school has hosed numerous bands and shows.

Hall also offers the full spectrum of trade courses. It boasts a modern and fully-equipment auto shop that enables students to learn auto mechanics and auto body repair. Students may also attend the Area Vocational Center at LaSalle -Peru High School, where welding, carpentry, and drafting classes, as well as nursing, cosmetology, and food service classes are offered.

Three years ago, the Hall administration implemented a "jon-shadowing program in which a student(usually a junior or senior) is allowed to spend time "shadowing" a person who works in their chose field of interest. This has met with a highly favorable response from students.

Hall places great emphasis on "Core" classes, such as English, mathematics, sciences and social studies, providing a solid background and foundation for students by aiding them in the transition to college or employment. Hall High School remains a progressive institution where a quality education and continuous improvement are the priorities of the staff, administration, and Board of Education.

Putnam County High School, in Granville, offers a strong academic and broad vocational program to students in Putnam County. Its campus includes a commons/student center, music room, auditorium, academic classrooms, science suites, industrial arts facility, and a gymnasium.

Putnam County High School boasts a strong academic program as well as offering its students a wide variety of extracurricular activities. The school has set records in both basketball and baseball at state tournaments, and has captured the state track championship. Putnam County has established a reputation as a state leader in the School-to-Work Initiative, Integrated Curriculum, and Cooperative Work Experience. Approximately 50 percent of its graduates go on to a college or university.

DePue High School is consolidated in unit district with its grade school system and has a combined enrollment of about 440. DePue High School, situated overlooking Lake DePue, has a curriculum designed to give students skills in using computers, as well as tech-prep and vocational training.

Fieldcrest High School, in Minonk, was created in 1992, with the consolidation of Minonk-

Dana-Rutland, Toluca, and Wenona school districts. It is a fully accredited four-year high school. The school's broad curriculum offers several educational opportunities for the approximately 400 students enrolled. Four-year college preparation, two-year college preparation, vocational training, and work study are emphasized.

LaMoille High School is situated in northeastern Bureau County, eight miles west of Mendota. It has a student population of about 150 and covers grades eight through 12.

The school emphasizes both academic and career training and offers a full roster of extracurricular activities and competitive sports. St. Bede Academy, set on a 100-acre campus in Peru, is an outstanding coeducational Catholic high school. College preparatory programs are emphasized for its 300-plus students. The Academy's family atmosphere and small class size insure individual attention and academic success. Each year, 96 percent of the graduates go on to post-secondary institutions. The Academy has a tri-level program and students are placed with students of similar ability. Elementary School, indicates community All levels are college preparatory. A wide range of extracurricular activities are also offered and 99 percent of the students are involved in these activities. Integral to the life of the Academy is its Christian Formation Program. A dedicated faculty, 90 percent of whom have masters degrees, and involved parents heighten student achievement.

LaSalle-Peru Christian School is a ministry of the First Baptist Church of LaSalle. The high school was organized in 1979 and has about 40 students enrolled in ninth through twelfth grades. The school offers a full range of classes for both college prep-and general studies students. All courses are taught from a Christian point of view. The school's interscholastic sports program includes soccer and basketball for boys and Volleyball, basketball, and cheerleading for girls. There are also interscholastic tournaments in fine arts and academics. All these programs are organized through the Illinois Association of Christian Schools and the American Association of Christian Schools.

The LaSalle-Peru Area Vocational Center serves 18 high school districts. It occupies a modern two-story, 18,600-square-foot building and has an enrollment of some 400 students. The Center gives students employment training in such areas as commercial art, electronics, welding, woods and construction, health occupations, auto mechanics, beauty culture, drafting, graphic production, food service, simulated office, data processing, and AG mechanics. The Vocational Center coordinates its curriculum with Illinois Valley Community College and offers adult training several areas.

There are 24 public and five parochial elementary and junior high schools in the Illinois Valley. These schools are all located within residential neighborhoods and make it convenient for children to walk to school. Youngsters living beyond walking distance are transported by bus.

The Illinois Valley's public school systems strive to provide each child with the opportunity to learn and the desire to learn, as well. Elementary schools stress basic-reading and math skills and provides excellent musical, athletic, and other programs. In all facets of the educational system, the support of involved parents and an interested community is evident. There is excellent parent and community support of school functions; funding for athletic equipment, travel, and other expenses. Loyal volunteer workers assist in many educational programs and committees.

The Illinois Valley has numerous preschool and day care centers where children learn to socialize, play, and work with other children to effectively prepare them for entrance into kindergarten.

Horizon House of Illinois Valley, Inc., is a private, not for profit corporation serving people with disabilities. It is the mission of the organization to provide or access services and supports for people with disabilities that seek to enable each individual to achieve his or her maximum mental, physical, and social development in accordance with the individual's preferences and needs. Programs and activities consist of community vocational and residential supports; sheltered employment; respite supports; developmental training; and 24-hour residential care. Horizon House offers people with disabilities opportunities to live productive lives and to take pride in themselves through their accomplishments.

The Lighted Way Association serves developmentally delayed and multiple disabled children ranging from infancy to 21 years. Approved by the State Board of Education and licensed by the state, the not-for-profit center operates as a day-school- -from September to June. A qualified, professional staff offer physical, occupational, and speech therapy as well as classes in self-help and motor skill development, music, academics, and physical education. Over 25 dedicated volunteer assistants provide each child with individual attention and personal care.

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Residents of the Illinois Valley enjoy the finest in health care. Two modern, fully

equipped hospitals offer a complete range of medical specialties and services.

St. Margaret's Hospital in Spring Valley is one of four hospitals operated by the Sisters of Mary of the Presentation. It is a progressive 188-licensed bed facility and has a medical staff of 80 physicians, surgeons, dentists nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. In addition it has 525 nurses, aids, technicians, and other employees.

Founded in 1903, St. Margaret's Hospital continues to expand and improve facilities, incorporating the latest medical advances. Its radiology and nuclear medicine departments offer up-to-date diagnostic services with the most technically sophisticated machines. The hospital also offers Mobile MRI and cardiac catheterization on-site, plus outpatient hemodialysis and laser surgery.

St. Margaret's also provides a full range of specialized services from care of the older adult, with Adult Day Care and Skilled Nursing facilities, to the care of new family, with a Family Birthing Center featuring labor, delivery, and recovery (LDR) rooms with a homelike atmosphere.

St. Margaret's is the leader in the Illinois Valley in cancer treatment and care, operating two facilities: the DeAngelo Cancer Unit and the Valley Cancer Center.

Illinois Valley Community Hospital (IVCH) is a 108-bed regional facility serving residents in a 40-mile radius with a staff of more than 550 employees. It is an affiliate of OSF healthcare, the parent corporation of St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria.

Specialized services offered by VCH include a 20-bed inpatient psychiatric wing called Passages Behavioral Health Services to denote that it is part of an integrated system th,it can provide other forms of treatment for behavioral disorders apart from hospitalization. Its obstetric unit has birthing rooms with whirlpool baths that are unique to the area.

IVCH operates a 24-hour emergency service and offers birthing rooms with whirlpool tubs, intensive care and cardiac intensive care units, and a variety of psychiatric services. It also provides sports medicine services, orthopedic surgery , outpatient surgery, occupational therapy and physical therapy services, and phases I, 11, and Ill cardiopulmonary rehabilitation programs. The hospital offers Medicare certified hospice and adult day care.

IVCH's medical staff has access to some of the most modern medical equipment available, including a laser surgery system and mobile MRI, mobile cardiac cath lab, CAT scanner, ultrasound, mammography and diagnostic radiology.

FVCH nurses employ a "total care" one patient-one nurse philosophy that emphasizes personal attention in patient care. The nursing staff and other hospital departments make extensive use of the hospital's large computer capacity to cut down on paperwork and make more time for patient needs.

The hospital also has an active occupational health program and an industrial rehabilitation unit. These offer employers many services, including pre-employment screenings, work hardening, functional capacity evaluations, a preventive back care program, a body mechanics workshop, job site analysis, and cybex evaluations.

The Hygienic Institute, founded in 1914, is now an affiliate of RVCH, positioning it to better coordinate the delivery of heath care services in the Illinois Valley. A not-for-profit facility, the agency offers immunizations to children and adults; physician provided physical examination for school, sports, and work; school nursing services for the public elementary schools in LaSalle and Peru; blood pressure screening; clinics; and medical laboratory testing. In addition, it provides programs to assist migrants and teen parents.

The Hygienic Institute, as a Registrar, certificates are issued for births and deaths occurring in LaSalle, Peru, and Oglesby. Notary Public services are also available. An Illinois Department of Public Health certified water testing laboratory is located on-site.

Affiliation with Illinois Valley Community Hospital also positions the Hygienic Institute to provide outpatient health care services to veterans if legislation now pending in Congress becomes law.

The 120-bed Illinois Veterans Home - LaSalle opened in December of 1990 and is operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs, State of Illinois. Three long-term nursing homes are located in the Illinois Valley providing a range of facilities.

North Central Behavioral Health Systems, Inc. serves residents of all ages in LaSalle, Bureau, Putnam, and Marshall counties. A professional staff provides outpatient services for both mental health and substance abuse. Services include evaluation, psychological testing; individual, group, and family therapy; day treatment and partial hospitalization for mental health, and DUI and prevention / wellness services. North Central also provides emergency services.

The Mental Health Center of LaSalle County serves Illinois Valley residents of all ages. A professional staff provides outpatient services consisting of initial evaluation; psychological testing; and individual, group, marital, and family counseling. The Center also has available short-term hospitalization facilities and an adult day treatment program. In addition, a "Crisis Team" is prepared to handle emergency situations.

A number of ambulance services perform a vital function for Illinois Valley residents and have modern, fully equipped vehicles and highly trained personnel which extend the ability of medical centers to respond quickly and effectively to emergencies.

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Municipal governments in the Illinois Valley work closely together on projects and services for their mutual benefits.

Well equipped and highly trained, full-time and volunteer personnel provide reliable fire protection. When needed, area fire departments provide assistance with no charge to neighboring communities. Well-staffed police departments keep the crime rate low. District 17 of the State Police is headquartered in a modern facility at the northern edge of LaSalle.

Members of Civic Defense Units are trained in first aid and may have additional police and medical training. These units function during tornado warnings, and other times of emergency, in accordance with Illinois Valley mutual aid working agreements.

Wisely managed tax monies are returned to the communities in the form of good schools, downtown renovation projects, and community facilities and services. Industrial and retail expansion has kept tax rates in the Illinois Valley area relatively low.

Master plans establishing land use are continually updated for rejuvenation and expansion opportunities. Active Illinois Valley planning commissions assure orderly growth and conduct public hearings to assure that all interests are represented.

Municipal governments offer area residents and businesses quality services. The cities maintain and upgrade sewers and modern disposal and waste water treatment plants. Utilities are continually improved and expanded to meet growing community needs. City owned and operated water departments pump millions of gallons daily and have storage facilities to accommodate a reserve capacity. Ameritech and General Telephone serve area customers and Illinois Power supplies natural gas. Depending upon the community, electricity is supplied either by Illinois Power Co., or a municipally owned power generating station. All utilities readily and economically meet residential, industrial, and commercial requirements.

Burlington Trailways, the bus line serving the Illinois Valley, makes two daily runs to Chicago and Davenport, connecting with Greyhound for destinations beyond these cities.

A good balance exists in this pleasant Valley between business, industry, social, and city services, and the residential population. Careful planning has guaranteed the quality of neighborhoods and their proximity to open spaces, school, shopping, and medical centers, and places of work.

Established more than 85 years ago, along with the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, the Illinois Valley Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development is a working forum which unites the efforts of individuals, manufacturers, professionals, and the agricultural and business communities. Through the Chamber, all work together to stimulate continued economic and social development throughout the Illinois Valley.




Religious faith is an important part of life in the Illinois Valley Area. The Illinois Valley's beautiful houses of worship serve most denominations and stand as architectural symbols of past and present spiritual values to the area.

The congregations of the Illinois Valley provide stability and fellowship. Religious institutions, whose doors are open to welcome newcomers, share generously with those in need and provide spiritual and social programs for all ages.











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