A Work in Progress

A Work in Progress
By: Holly Brantley
GRAND CHAIN, Il. -- Take a trip to Grand Chain, Illinois and you might feel like you've traveled back in time.  Residents call it a little piece of Mayberry.
"I love the sense of community," said Dea Hoff. "You know everybody, you wave at strangers."
It's a rare charm residents want to preserve. So When Betty Shumaker and others who call Grand Chain home realized the town of disappearing, they decided to do something about it. And, that's how the Grand Chain Civic Club for Main Street Restoration was born.
"Our purpose was to band people together for community spirit," said Shumaker.
Mission accomplished. Now, more than 25 members strong, the club's to do list is growing with projects big and small.
Residents bought and decorated barrels for Independence Day.
Major projects include restoring the jail. "Now what we lack is a new roof," said Shumaker. "We're also planning a memorial garden where people can remember their loved ones."
The jail is just one of many works in progress. Dea Hoff and her husband are in the process of restoring this old building. Soon, this will be the home of 'Humble Pie Christian Coffee House'.
"There's no restaurant in town," said Hoff. "We just wanted to give back to the community with a place for fellowship."
Other new businesses are popping up like Grand Chain Mini Storage. And, they know big industries are on the way to Southern Illinois. 
"We would like to fix things up so now people will say 'This is a good place to be,'" said Shumaker.  
Residents hope for progress, while preserving the small town atmosphere.
"I think if people know about this place they would flock here," said Hoff.
The Civic Club hopes someone might donate a roof for their historic jail. Grand Chain also hopes to one day have a bike trail through town.
The community is also busy planning Grand Chain Days. Look for more on that in September.