Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) visited Mount Carroll on Friday to learn more about the Economic Growth Corporation’s redevelopment of the historic Shimer College campus. Named Shimer Square, the site contains 17 buildings on 14 acres, which are being transformed into housing, business and community amenities to better the Mount Carroll community.
“Bringing this historic college campus back to life will be a great service to the growing community in Mount Carroll and throughout Northwestern Illinois,” said Congresswoman Bustos. “I was glad to have the opportunity to visit today and see this work in progress firsthand. I look forward to the continued redevelopment of Shimer Square.”
According to Economic Growth Corporation, projected redevelopment will be completed over the next five to seven years. It will require an investment of more than $60 million.
The revitalized campus could also be critical for the Thomson Prison. Located roughly 15 miles from the prison, newly developed housing could serve current and potential Thomson Prison employees by cutting down on long commute times for federal workers – an issue that has hampered hiring at the site. Thomson Prison currently employs hundreds of federal workers through the Bureau of Prisons, which has an expected staff of up to 600 employees.
Congresswoman Bustos previously led the charge in fighting for funds for the prison and worked with Senator Dick Durbin to fully fund prison activation. In 2018, the Congresswoman worked with Senators Durbin and Duckworth on the site’s continued activation. Most recently, Congresswoman Bustos has advocated for the Bureau of Prisons to allow Thomson direct hiring authority, which would streamline hiring for the prison.