BELVIDERE, Ill. (WTVO) — The City of Belvidere will be the latest to join the marijuana industry after the state announced an increase in revenue.
City council members approved the plan at Monday night’s meeting. It passed with a 7-1 vote.
“It’s obviously going to be a huge source of revenue that we desperately need,” said 5th Ward Alderwoman Marsha Freeman.
“Heartland Leaf” will create a 43-acre development located on Crystal Parkway near the I-90 exit. After the idling of the Stellantis plant, the development would create jobs and generate revenue for the city.
Belvidere resident Debbie Willis, however, said that this is not the only possible solution.
“I don’t want that in our community and have easy access,” she said. The money? I think I’ve given you some alternative ways that we can get our money back to make up for what we’ll lose from Chrysler when they idle their plant, but there’s other revenues we can have, and we don’t need to jeopardize the health and well-being of the citizens of our community and, God forbid, someone you love.”
The General Mills development and other industrial projects are contributing to the local economy as well.
“There’s going to be a lot of jobs and a lot of tax revenue from these industrial projects,” Willis said. “We do not need money from marijuana.”
Freeman voted in favor of the plan, citing the benefits to the city and its people.
“I mean, I think it’s good all the way around. People that are in pain,” she said. “It’s not just people who smoke. It’s people that do the gummies, and if it keeps them off opioid addiction, then I’m all for that.”
Freeman made a comparison to alcohol sales and the chance to bring in more money to Belvidere.
“I don’t know why it would be any different than a liquor store,” she said. “You know, you have to be 21 to get it and just like liquor. Otherwise, why are we giving South Beloit all of our revenue?”
There is no word on an estimated time frame for development.