Maytag, mall and more among Galesburg changes in 2016

GALESBURG, Illinois -

There's a fresh start on the way for Galesburg's long-vacant Maytag plant.

After sitting empty for more than a decade, there's a multi-year deal to store wind turbine blades there.

While it will create a handful of jobs, it's a welcome sign.

"I think it shows that we as a community are very adaptable," said Ken Springer, Knox County Area Partnership.  "We're looking for opportunities wherever we can find them."

During the State of the City Address on Monday, November 21, 2016, Mayor John Pritchard details additional work on lead service lines in 2017.

"There's about 150 homes where all the cases of children with high levels of lead have been," he said.  "We're also planning to try and help them."

Owners of Sandburg Mall plan to demolish parts of the aging structure and create a new shopping experience.

"I think the progress is going to inject a lot of new life into that property," Springersaid.  "It's definitely going to change the visual look at that property."

Work also continues on the first new subdivision in nearly two decades.  It's part of a strategy to keep families living in Galesburg.

"There's people that relocated here for work and don't end up living here because they want to find a new house," Pritchard said.

Galesburg will gradually introduce a new gateway to the city.  The Main Street underpass will take about two years of construction.

The $17.5 million project will help to ease the strain between traffic and trains.

"Get in and out of the downtown from the east, and our emergency first responders will have better access," Pritchard said.

Back on Main Street, the city is set to welcome a new YMCA in coming days while it continues with downtown improvements.