New economic development director sees opportunity in Freeport

FREEPORT— When Wayne Duckmann saw the city of Freeport was looking for a community and economic development director, he quickly realized it could be more than just a job.

“I was attracted to the position as it presents an opportunity to revitalize a historic downtown,” Duckmann said in an email. “There are great partnerships in place as well as a community that supports this initiative.”

Duckmann most recently worked as a senior planner for McHenry County and has 10 years of experience in the private sector fields of construction management and land surveying.

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He started his new position with the city Jan. 3. He takes over for Kristin Hinds, who moved to California last year.

“I love being a part of the northwest Illinois community of which Freeport is a major component,” he said. “It is exciting to walk through this town and admire its history and architecture.”

Reporting to City Manager Randy Bukas, Duckman will earn $82,500 per year. He is responsible for a variety programs and initiatives related to the community’s economic vitality. They include neighborhood diversity and stability, preservation of historic attributes, and enhancement of community programs and assets that contribute to the quality of life in Freeport.

“I hope to facilitate the enjoyment of these great spaces for all residents of the city, as well as promote the many great and diverse opportunities of the city to the region and beyond,” he said.

Duckmann is also responsible for the city’s flood mitigation and green space plans for floodway areas east of the Pecatonica River, reviewing and updating planning and zoning codes, and streamlining the code enforcement and building permit processes.

A native of Chicago, Duckmann earned a bachelor’s degree in construction management from Bradley University and is currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration from Northern Illinois University. He expects to graduate in May.

Jim Hagerty is a freelance correspondent.

This article originally appeared on Journal Standard: New economic development director sees an opportunity in Freeport