FULTON, Ill. — After nearly six months of work and even more research, the city of Fulton is ready to unveil its plan of Fulton Forward, which is being formed to improve the community and local economy.
As 40 to 50 people gathered at the Robert Fulton Community Center, an air of enthusiasm and motivation took over the room, which is exactly what community leaders and Giselle Hamm of the Illinois Institute of Rural Affairs and the Management and Planning Programs in Non-Metropolitan Groups (MAPPING) program wanted to incite in residents.
“Widespread support and collaboration from the community is a key to success, and you cannot give up if one thing fails,” Hamm said. “We haven’t had such a passionate group of people before coming to Fulton so it’s important that you keep that positive attitude going. The future really depends on you.”
Fulton Forward is composed of five specific goals that were generated through five, three-hour meetings organized by the MAPPING Committee.
Business development, enhancement of parks and recreation, development of activities on the riverfront, promotion of tourism and manufacturing and industrial growth — that’s the recipe of success that Fulton officials believe to be true.
In order to accomplish that however, Mayor Larry Russell encouraged everyone in the room at the Robert Fulton Community Center to get involved and keep “moving forward.”
“This is a bottoms up process and it’s rising,” Russell said. “Each and every one of you are involved in this and you’re the ones who will make it successful.”
A few special visitors at Saturday’s town meeting also had some positive words to share with the people of Fulton.
Sen. Neil Anderson R-Moline; Lee Trotter, director of the Office of Regional Economic Development; and Clinton Regional Development Corporation President and CEO Mike Kirchhoff were among those who celebrated the efforts of the MAPPING committees and commended the city for being proactive.
“Seeing this many people here tonight just shows the importance of small-town America,” Anderson said. “What you’re doing is taking a proactive approach and setting yourself up for success. You’ve got a lot of things going for you here and coming together as a group to move your community forward is an amazing thing.”
Clinton Herald Staff Writer Amy Kent can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.