Local Store Is Rated Top 100

Ukulele Station America has been named a Top 100 Dealer by the Nations Association of Music Merchants, the global association of music products and music retailers.

The award honors retail music dealers who demonstrate exceptional commitment to their stores, neighborhoods and customers, and share in a vision to crete a more musical world through their loca communities.

"We are thrilled to be recognized by NAMM:, said John Lindhorst, the owner of Ukulele Station America.  "It is especially amazing to have received this honor for three consecutive years."

In addition to its honor as a Tope 100 Dealer, Ukulele Station America will be in consideration to recieve a "Best Of" award in one of seven categories, and one recipient will be honored with the Music Makes a Difference award.

To learn more about the Ukulele Station America, visit www.ukulelestationamerica.com or visit the shop located at 1000 Washington Street, Oregon IL.

ITEP Bike Path Grant

The Oregon Park District learned this week, a bike path in the works since 2011, will become a reality thanks to a $1 million grant from Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program. The ITEP grant was awarded to 54 projects in Illinois for biking and walking paths, trails, streetscape beautification work and other projects designed to encourage safe travel across the various modes of transportation.

The Oregon Park District was awarded $1,086,000 to build a bike and walking path from the edge of Oregon from Route 64 to Lowden State Park.

“This is very exciting for our community, Park District and the hundreds of thousands of tourists that visit our state parks each year,” said Erin Folk, Oregon Park District Executive Director.

The Oregon Park District’s idea for a path from Oregon to Lowden State Park began in 2009. During that year the state of Illinois attempted to close several state parks in Illinois. It was identified then that over 400,000 tourists visit Oregon’s state parks each year.

“In 2011 the district began to research ideas to provide alternative transportation for community members and visitors. The City of Oregon and Oregon Park District, in partnership, created the Community Bike Trail. The Oregon Park District wanted to expand off that trail and provide opportunities to connect the state parks,” explained Folk. “Unfortunately, in 2011 the first design concept created for a connecting path was sidelined due to the excessive costs.

In 2016, with Oregon’s renewed interest in downtown revitalization and the biking community, the district began looking at the plans again. The ITEP grant was a perfect fit to provide the path. The district approached the City of Oregon and Ogle County to assist in Phase I engineering costs to apply for the grant.”

Both government agencies agreed to partner with the Oregon Park District. The City of Oregon and Ogle County each contributed $19,000 and the Park District contributed $50,462.51 towards Phase I engineering costs.

“The Intergovernmental agreement between the park district, City of Oregon and Ogle County showed everyone’s commitment to the community, commitment to fostering a trail system within Ogle County and commitment to tourism. Oregon has many wonderful things happening right now and we are excited to add to that. Businesses are being revitalized, new businesses are moving in and we have several organizations, such as Oregon Together and the Chamber of Commerce, offering events and festivals to draw people to our community,” added Folk.

Phase I is substantially completed and with the grant secured Phase II will begin.

Following completion of a federal agreement to participate, Phase II will begin. This will include finalizing an Environmental Survey Request, finalizing the Project Development Report and preparing the Plat.

Plans are to have Phase II and final designs complete and submitted to IDOT for approval by February 22, 2019. A bid letting is scheduled for April 26, 2019 with anticipated construction to begin in summer 2019.

“The total project costs are $1.3 million. This will benefit the community and in the end, be an avenue for visitors of Lowden State Park to access all the wonderful things in the Oregon community. The goal with this project is to benefit our community members, bring tourism dollars and hopefully attract new residents.

The Park District will pay for our portion of the project, estimated at $271,500, over the next two fiscal years. Plans are to to utilize existing capital improvement funds for the project. The overall fund balance is strong and continues to increase every year. The district is in a good financial position due to proper planning in hopes of bringing this connection from Oregon to Lowden for many years,” said Folk.


Sycamore Room Rennovation At White Pines Resort

After years of work, they Sycamore Room at White Pines Resort is now bigger and better than ever.  "We're very, very excited," said Beth George, president and founder of the resort, about the remodeled space.  The Illinois Department of Natural Resources actually owns the land, and George rents it to run the business.  Through a rare public/private partnership, they were able to expand the room - which serves many purposes.

"It's our SUnda buffet area, it's our theater, it's our wedding space, it's our big banquet room," George said.  George added that she has been looking to renovate the space for about 20 of the nearly 30 years she has run the resort, but in 2015 she and the DNR began to actively work on it.  The construction began last September and is now complete.  This added space means the resort can now accommodate larger weddings, additionally, the stage was raised and there is now a real backstage area.  State-of-the-art audio and visual equipment was added enhancing corporate retreat opportunities, weddings, and visitors on the site.

George, originally from Mount Morris, has abvious pride in White Pines.  She said she feels like the "guardian" of the resort.  "It's still somewhat of a hidden gem," George added.

Congratulations to the entire staff at White Pines Resort on this milestone accomplishment!


10 Year Celebration!

Born and raised in Ogle County, and both being lovers of the outdoors, husband and wife team Jim Williams and Monica Putnam found the perfet fit in five acres of local property and " ... decided to open a small garden cente rin April of 2008" Monica offered (with a bit of a sly grin in her voice).  WIth beautiful display gardens for ideas and inspiration, and tremendous response and requests through the years, this venture into the world of "small business" has blossomed into a thriving operation!  Through the years, HTG has added over 100 varieties of shade and ornamental trees, evergreens, shrubs and fruit trees, as well as annuals and vegetables to their selection.  installation, landscape consultation and custom orders were added in 2012, and in 2013 they began selling locally sourced native perennials and grasses to help meet the local desire to increase the number of pollinators in our community.

"We are incredibyl thankful to all of our customers these past ten years for choosing Hidden Timber Gardens, and we hope to continue providing high quality, individual customer service for many years to come!" added Putnam.

We encourage you to support this dedicated local business, view unique floral gardens and take advantage of top nothc personal service!

Congratulations to Oregon Chamber members Monica Putnam and Jim Williams, owners of Hidden Timber Gardens, on this milestone anniversary!


The Chamber Abassador Team Welcomes Alyssa Carreno

Born and raised in oregon, Alyssa is a 2014 NIU Graduate.  A former manager for McDonald's and on the White Pines serving staff for 10 years, Alyssa began her banking career four years ago as a teller at Harvard State Bank, and now enjoys serving their customers as a "Universal Banker"!

Sher and her husband Juan enjoy his daughters, Grace & Ava, ages 8 and 11, and their "other children" - Foxy (their dog), and Tibby and Oliver, yep their cats!

Alyssa admits to being "pretty passionate" about pets and traveling!  We can tell she is passionatee about our community and we are very excited to have her on our team!


Ukulele State Makes Top 100

Local Store Is Rated Top 100 Ukulele Station America has been named a Top 100 Dealer by the Nations Association of Music Merchants, the global association of music products and music...

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OPD Secures Grant for Bike Path

ITEP Bike Path Grant The Oregon Park District learned this week, a bike path in the works since 2011, will become a reality thanks to a $1 million grant from Illinois...

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Hidden Timber Gardens Celebrates 10 Years

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White Pines Resort Expansion Project Update

Sycamore Room Rennovation At White Pines Resort After years of work, they Sycamore Room at White Pines Resort is now bigger and better than ever.  "We're very, very excited," said Beth...

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Chamber Ambassador Team Addition

The Chamber Abassador Team Welcomes Alyssa Carreno Born and raised in oregon, Alyssa is a 2014 NIU Graduate.  A former manager for McDonald's and on the White Pines serving staff for...

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CBI Welcomes Jennifer Winterland

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