Mayor Chris Brown gives first State of the City Address at Chamber event

MORRIS – Mayor Chris Brown and the city of Morris partnered with the Grundy County Chamber to present the city’s first State of the City Address June 22.

To celebrate Brown’s first official address as mayor, numerous sponsors stepped up to support this Chamber event including presenting sponsor The Stenger Devermann Group at Morgan Stanley; and event sponsors Chamlin & Associates and First Midwest Bank, a division of Old National Bank. Just under 200 people attended the address held at Morris Country Club, including city, county and state elected officials.

“When I addressed our citizens and city council at our first meeting last year, I spoke about challenges facing our business community and the need for big ideas and innovation to address those challenges.  I spoke about new approaches and a vision for the future of our city,” Brown said to the crowd. “Over the past year, we have come a long way in achieving that vision, and while there are still many challenges ahead of us, I am proud of what we have accomplished together to position Morris for a better future.  Tonight is a celebration of those accomplishments, but it is also a call to service for all of us to continue to work towards our goal of making Morris a city that is second to none.”

Brown took time to introduce city staff and aldermen, recognizing them all for their hard work and dedication. He highlighted accomplishments such as lowering the tax levy, new events in Goold Park and downtown like fForest Fest and Rock the Block; hiring the city’s first Business Development Director Julie Wilkinson; new and expanding business development including Loves Travel Stop, Procter & Gamble, and Costco’s expansion.

Brown also touched on the city’s improved communications through Public Information Office Stan Knudson, the city’s new website, and social media presence. His excitement was apparent as Brown detailed the new ice skating rink, pickle ball courts and the efforts to create a comprehensive plan for the city’s parks.

“I have always been proud to tell people I am from Morris. I cannot begin to tell you how humbled and proud I am to be your mayor,” he said. “Our work together is just beginning. We will face more challenges, and we will celebrate more victories. We will do it together, as a team. I hope you are as excited about the road ahead of us as I am.”

The State of the City Address with Morris is the start of a new tradition with the Chamber, and one the business community can continue to look forward to, Chamber President & CEO Christina Van Yperen said.

“The residents and businesses in Morris are lucky to have a mayor, city council, and city staff that work so hard for our community,” Van Yperen said in a news release. “All of their actions have the betterment of Morris as a whole in mind. It was an honor to partner with the city to share so much positive news with the community.”

The Chamber partners with the local municipalities to better the business community. For more information on the Grundy County Chamber call 815-942-0113 or visit