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The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce plans to pursue its usual, annual July 4th celebration at Pells Park President Alan Meyer told members of the city council economic development committee. The event was canceled last year due to state pandemic restrictions.

Mayor Bill Ingold said he will proceed with ordering fireworks for that evening. The city has budgeted $7500 for the fireworks and the company Paxton deals with has available supply. Ingold said there has been no fundraising as is usually done, since 2020 has been such a difficult year for many businesses.

Also the committee voted to recommend to the full council that it split the $5,000 cost to purchase a marketing package with the newly opening Rantoul Family Sports Complex to showcase the motel rooms, restaurants and shopping available in Paxton to those who come to Rantoul for games and tournaments.

Committee chair Deane Geiken said he’s been told that the center could bring as many as 129,000 people to Rantoul annually and $34 million in sales. Also predicted—a 75,000 night per season motel room demand meaning Rantoul should have 400 motel rooms when it has just 100. Geiken said Paxton should get in on the action. “It’s a no-brainer,” he said. “We need to pick up some of these overflow tourists.”

The proposed marketing package would list Paxton businesses on the complex’s website, link a Paxton website to that page, give spotlight recognition on the complex’s Plan Your Visit page and place ads on the championship videoboard during games.

Leah Moore, executive director of the chamber said she will be updating the chamber of commerce website immediately. There was some discussion about which website the complex’s page should link —the city’s, the chamber’s or an entirely new one.

Also Ingold updated other business news in town like the nail salon opening April 12 on S. Market, a new car wash on the west side of town, and the possibility of an ice cream shop opening in State Street Mall.

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