LAWRENCEVILLE, Ill. (WTHI) – In a town, with a population averaging around 4,400 people, the square booms with people on a daily basis.
Downtown Lawrenceville is small in nature, but big in business, and city officials and business owners agree a number of factors go into making the downtown sector boom.
The square, which consists of eight city blocks surrounding the county courthouse, continues to see growth from a business aspect. It most recently welcomed The Roots, a flower and antique shop specializing in European Style Floral arrangements.
For owner Bill Collins, his decision to open the business on 12th street was one based in roots. After being away from Lawrenceville for more than two decades, Collins wanted to get back to his roots.
“I moved away 22 years ago and it’s always been just a great warm community,” said Collins. Aside from an ‘everybody knows everybody’ community culture, another driving force for downtown business lives within that culture.
“Local money stays here, plus we have local people that are interested in making it better,” said Don Wagner, Lawrenceville Mayor. The city, and Lawrence County leaders alongside an independent movement is working to revitalize the square in Lawrenceville; a move that would update sidewalks and add new lighting to the area.
But perhaps the biggest driver to keeping downtown alive and thriving, according to the mayor, is people.
“United Health downtown is a big business on one side of the square, which makes about 200 to 300 people for restaurants and whatever,” added Mayor Wagner.
United Healthcare, which sits on the square brings those people to work everyday. It’s also a convenient location for people needing county offices. When businesses, restaurants, craft dealers and city and county leadership join forces, the result is a success.