Shimer ballots

A total of 230 ballots were cast in the contest to rename the Shimer College campus in Mount Carroll, resulting in a tie between Shimer Woods and Shimer Square. Mayor Carl Bates will flip a flip at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 25, at Mayfest to decide the winner. Andrew Fisher, construction director with Economic Growth Corp., looks over the ballots sent to the Mirror-Democrat with MD staff members, from left, Janice Smith, Laurie Wilkins and Samantha Pidde.

The votes are in for the campus renaming with 230 ballots received. The result? A tie between Shimer Square and Shimer Woods. Both names received 94 total votes. The votes were counted three times by GROWTH staff, with the final tally resulting in a tie.

"It was pretty unbelievable. We had to count the ballots three times to make sure. Some ballots were signed by those that voted, and many left notes thanking us for the opportunity to weigh in," said Brian Hollenback, GROWTH President and CEO.

Added Hollenback, "We all agreed that a coin toss by Mount Carroll Mayor Carl Bates at Mayfest would be fitting to determine the final winner. This is a true demonstration on the community's love of this campus and its commitment to its redevelopment."

The coin toss will occur at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 25, inside the entertainment tent at Mayfest. Mayor Bates will be on stage and the official name will be determined.

An official ballot was provided to the Mount Carroll City Council on April 30 where Hollenback presented on GROWTH's redevelopment plan and intentions for the community to weigh in on the remaining. The five choices on the ballot were: Shimer Woods, Shimer Center, Pillars of Mount Carroll, Shimer Square, and a write-in option.

The ballot was published in the Carroll County Mirror-Democrat on May 8 (along with sister publications the Savanna Times-Journal and Northwestern Illinois Dispatch) and the public had until May 16 to vote. Ballots were submitted to the Mirror-Democrat where they kept tally for GROWTH in a box on the front counter.

The ballot was also made available online on the Mirror-Democrat's website, made possible through an emerging partnership between GROWTH and the 159-year-old county seat weekly newspaper. Andrew Fisher, construction director, picked up the ballots on May 20 and posed for pictures with the newspaper staff that helped GROWTH along the renaming process.

A new website will be launched once the name is determined and a landing page will be launched by next Wednesday, May 29, showcasing a new video of GROWTH's redevelopment vision. The website is being developed by a local Mount Carroll resident, and its content will include places for the community to get updates on progress, contractor inquiries, leasing information, and the community impact demonstrating how the redevelopment effort is making a difference in the local community.

GROWTH's staff will be onsite at Mayfest starting at noon Saturday and plan to be there through the afternoon to introduce themselves, facilitate the coin toss, showcase available rehabilitation programs for homeowners, showcase the new video, and have people sign up on a contact list for more information that will soon become available.