a pile of filler for the roads.

IIn the heart of Freeport, a unique and invaluable initiative has been making waves since its inception on May 1, 2024. The Pretzel City Skills Enhancement Program (PCSEP), born from a collaborative effort between Midwest Contractors and the City of Freeport, has been transforming our streets and the lives of our youth. This program not only addresses the pressing issue of road maintenance but also serves as a beacon of opportunity and hope for our community’s young adults.

The Visionary Behind PCSEP: Patrick Sellers

Freeport Township Supervisor Patrick Sellers
Freeport Township Supervisor Patrick Sellers

The PCSEP owes its existence to the visionary leadership of Patrick A. Sellers, the current Supervisor of the Freeport Township. Mr. Sellers, a name synonymous with transformative leadership, has a history of turning challenges into opportunities for growth and development.

In 2013, Patrick Sellers achieved a significant milestone by defeating a 36-year incumbent to become the Supervisor of Freeport Township. Upon taking office on May 23, 2013, he faced the daunting task of rescuing the Township from financial disarray. With the books $300,000 in the red, operations in chaos, and soaring client numbers, the situation seemed dire. Speculation and rumors even suggested dissolving the Township altogether.

Undeterred, Mr. Sellers implemented a comprehensive 5-step reformation plan. His strategy included innovative programming focused on client development and self-sufficiency, prudent budget cuts, and lowering tax levies. The results were nothing short of remarkable. Within a year, Freeport Township’s finances stabilized, operations were streamlined, and long-time clients found meaningful employment through the Township’s initiatives. By the second year, the Township’s finances were in the black, and the community celebrated the positive direction under Mr. Sellers’ stewardship.

Drawing from his experience and success, Patrick Sellers has now brought his expertise and passion for community development to the City of Freeport. The PCSEP is his latest brainchild, reflecting his enduring commitment to fostering economic growth and creating opportunities for youth. Through this program, Mr. Sellers continues to demonstrate his dedication to improving the lives of Freeport residents, ensuring the city’s infrastructure is robust, and preparing the next generation for a prosperous future.

A Program with a Purpose

The PCSEP is designed with several critical objectives:

  • Enhancing City Services: By outsourcing pothole-filling duties to Midwest Contractors, the program frees up Freeport’s Street Crews to focus on extensive road resurfacing projects.
  • Youth Training and Employment: Local youth and young adults, aged 18-26, are trained in street repair and other essential trades. Participants are paid during their training and the most outstanding trainees are promised employment with the City of Freeport’s Street and Water Departments.
  • Community Development: The program repairs neighborhood streets, showcases tax dollars at work, and places working role models in front of our youth, serving as a crime deterrent and helping to break the cycle of generational poverty.
  • Financial Literacy and Economic Growth: Teaching financial literacy and fostering economic development are pivotal aspects of the program, ensuring that participants gain more than just technical skills.

Tangible Impact

Since its launch, the PCSEP has laid 309 tons of hot mixing material, significantly improving the quality of our roads. The program’s extensive schedule has seen work carried out in numerous locations, from Winnebago and Summit to Arcade and Inlets, with plans extending well into July 2024. Each project not only enhances our infrastructure but also symbolizes the collective effort and investment in our community’s future.

A Call to Action

As we approach critical junctures in funding and policy decisions, the future of the Pretzel City Skills Enhancement Program hangs in the balance. To continue reaping the benefits of this transformative initiative, we need your support. We urge every resident of Freeport to join us in signing the petition to renew the PCSEP. This program is more than just a solution for our potholes; it’s a pathway to prosperity for our youth and a testament to our city’s commitment to development and improvement.

“Please let’s continue to help our street crews keep up with road maintenance while providing our youth with the opportunities they need to learn a skilled trade with the potential for city employment and promise our citizens good roads to drive on. Let’s renew the Pretzel City Skills Enhancement Program without delay. I urge you to join me in signing this petition and make our city a better place to live and thrive.”

Sign the Petition Here

A Note of Gratitude

We extend our heartfelt thanks to the Noon Kiwanis for their unwavering support in advocating for the renewal of the program through the end of 2024. Their letter, read during the public comments at the City of Freeport’s Committee of the Whole meeting on July 8, 2024, reflects the community’s collective endorsement and the importance of sustaining this initiative. Listen to the letter here.

Conclusion

The Pretzel City Skills Enhancement Program is a shining example of how strategic collaboration and community support can lead to remarkable outcomes. By investing in our roads and our youth, we build a stronger, more resilient Freeport. Let’s unite to keep this program alive and ensure a brighter future for all.

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