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Working on Walnut Update

As I write this morning it is a cool 55 degrees outside. It feels great. But where did the dog days of summer go? Being that we live in Illinois, don't be surprised if it's 95 degrees the first week of school.

Last night we had a Coordinating Council meeting for the WOW Committee. The Coordinating Council is basically the WOW board of directors. There are representatives from each sub committee that serve on this board.

One thing that we talked about at the meeting is communicating with the public better on projects and goals we are working on. This will probably be a once a month update and I'm not sure if I will keep it in the Chamber Corner or have a separate article for WOW updates. But, for today, the update will be here in the Corner.

Here's what each committee is busy working on:

Beautification - The Beautification Committee has officially filed for non-profit status and has been working hard attempting to acquire abandoned buildings on Main Street. That is currently their long-term goal. A short-term goal they will be completing is decorating Main Street with scarecrows and cornstalks before Fall Fest on October 7.

Housing/Industrial - The Housing/Industrial committee hasn't met since the Town Meeting on June 12. However, John Dietz has talked to BV Superintendent Eric Lawson about the Shop Class at BV helping with a future Tiny Home Program in Walnut. This is all preliminary talk but the idea would be the Shop Class being involved with labor along with local Walnut businesses to construct a Tiny Home(s) for individuals living alone or even small families.

Retail & Dining - A Cash Mob is scheduled for Saturday, August 26th. Those that want to participate will meet at the Veteran's Memorial at 9:30 a.m. and convene on the store around 10 a.m. that morning. The destination is kept secret until that morning. Also, the group is talking about planning a Community Supper with hopes part of Main Street could be blocked off to place a long table in the middle of the street for diners. The event would be called "Taste of Walnut" and feature all restaurants in town providing a specialty dish. Cost would be $15 in advance, $20 at the door. The group still has to finalize a date and talk to restaurants about participating.

Sports & Recreation - Sports & Rec met twice in July. The first meeting was July 17th with the total focus on the Bike Trail. A representative from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources was in attendance and answered a lot of questions the group had. Everyone was excited and motivated leaving the meeting. The group will be applying for a Federal Grant that is due March 1, 2018. The Grant, if approved, would fund up to 80% of the project. The group then met again July 21st to keep the momentum going and discuss more about the Bike Trail. It was decided to break the project into phases. Phase 1 would cover Depot Street to the Ross Preserve. The other phases are still under discussion.

Events Committee - No representative was present but Brent Jamison noted the group is working on a Chili Cook-Off to be held the Friday before Fall Fest.

As you can see, the WOW committee is still working hard behind the scenes. They have a lot of exciting goals for the future.

Have a great week, everyone. Shop Walnut.

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