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Winnebago County supervisors' agreement lends support to Irish Hospital project

Winnebago County supervisors' agreement lends support to Irish Hospital project

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Winnebago County supervisors unanimously approved an updated agreement with Irish Hospital LLC on July 20.

The agreement provides financial support for the private development project to convert the former Winnebago County Law Enforcement Center and Irish Hospital in downtown Forest City into residential apartments. 

Forest City Economic Development Executive Director Beth Bilyeu said the agreement had been updated from a forgivable loan at the end of construction to a loan carried forward 15 years from the date supervisors approve the completion of the project, provided all property taxes are current.

"That will be to our benefit to extend it 15 years," supervisor Bill Jensvold said. 

Bilyeu said it is an opportunity for other counties to see how supervisors can work with private developers to renovate existing buildings for useful purposes, such as apartments in this case.

The hope is to start construction in November and be completed before the end of June 2022, according to Bilyeu.

Bilyeu also noted that the city is providing a $250,000 loan over 20 years for the building being all-electric energy and will realize electricity savings over time. The city is also providing loan funding on water service installation that will be sufficient for necessary water sprinklers in the building.

In other business:

• County engineer Scott Meinders reported that a bridge replacement project on County Road F18 is proceeding well. As of the meeting date, the old bridge had been removed. Meinders said dry weather was providing for a good stable bottom and banks for the bridge replacement. The project could be substantially completed within a week of when the box and other parts for the new bridge arrive.

• Supervisors set a 9:30 a.m. Aug. 17 public hearing date for a drainage district 18, lateral 11 project.

Rob Hillesland is community editor for the Summit-Tribune. He can be reached at 641-421-0534, or by email at


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