Innovative Project Award
Prairie Tech Learning Center (Monmouth)
The Prairie Tech Learning Center in Monmouth, IL brought together a group of organizations interested in bringing more opportunities to regional workers and downtown Monmouth. The project was broadly supported by a variety of funders and collaboraters locally, regionally and at the state level.
Community Champion Award
Barry Beck (Astoria)
Former Village President for Astoria Beck helped transform the village with a number of successful projects from redeveloping several buildings, refurbishing housing with a grant, installing a new water tower, and purchasing lights for downtown.
Professional Partnership Award
Carol Merna, Deputy Chief of Staff for Congressman Ray LaHood has been recognized with the 2007 Professional Partnership Award for her great support for several MAPPING communities in rural Illinois over many years. Carol has been a tireless advocate for small Illinois rural communities in supporting local revitalization and improvement efforts. Carol speaks frequently to small communities about the need to develop a vision and action plan for community and economic development. Her enthusiasm for rural development and constant encouragement has been a great resource for rural Illinois.
Community Teamwork Award
SOAR (Mason City)
“SOAR (Save Our Area Resources) was awarded the 2007 Community Teamwork Award as the organization exemplifies what can happen when community members come together for a common goal. In 1993, a few passionate people in Mason City, IL decided to take it upon themselves to collect recyclables and take them to a recycling center since Mason City did not have a recycling program. The few volunteers quickly became overwhelmed, so they secured a building to store the recyclables and coordinated with Quincy recycling to do once-a-month pick-ups. Before the recyclables can be picked up by Quincy recycling, they must be baled and crushed. Thus, every month, different groups, such as church groups, scouts, 4-H and various other civic organizations, go to help unload, crush and bale everything. Last year, SOAR collected 153 tons of recyclables. Amazingly, SOAR is an all-volunteer group, and is completely self-sustaining.