PROGRESS AND REFLECTIONS – Bement

Bement business leaders are proud of what the town of 1,700 has to offer, and hope to get the word out to the rest of Piatt County next month.

The Bement Area Chamber of Commerce will mail out a promotional book about the community to 7,500 county residents. The publication will tout the tourism, recreational and residential opportunities of the town.

"We want to encourage people to come to town to visit, but also encourage people to look to move here, to realize how neat a town this is," said Tabitha Elder, President of the BACC.

She points to the Looking for Lincoln waysides that tie into the Bryant Cottage State Historic Site, two spacious parks, a swimming pool, Bement Country Opry concerts and even the crab apple trees that beautify the city each spring.

The chamber worked hard on an economic development plan that was completed last year. In 2012 the main thrust was business retention, more specifically with large employers and Cim-Tek Filtration and TopFlight Grain. Those efforts continue, but at the same time the group hopes to attract new business.

The local retail economy received a boost with the opening of a Subway in February. Other development in town over the past year has included the opening of Rumor Has It and the addition of a grill at JTA Foods.

"We have a lot to offer, but would like to see more retail," added Elder of BACC's future goals.

Classes being added
Bement students will have more offerings in middle school next year, with the eventual goal of allowing them to access more Parkland College courses in high school.

"We have always had a good career ed tech program," said Superintendent Daniel Brue. "But it was pretty apparent we needed to find more opportunities for kids to take advantage of dual credit courses through Parkland."

With that in mind, all eighth grade students will have access to Algebra classes this fall, an addition to that grade's offerings.

"That will in turn allow our freshman to be in upper level math courses so they will have an opportunity to take more upper level science courses," he added.

The process will help some high schoolers get prerequisites out of the way in order to take Parkland courses. Brue said it will also help students going on to four-year universities.

Along the same lines, the district will replace the high school Chemistry Connections class with an anatomy/physiology class, which serves as a better prerequisite for college.

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