Economic Development

The City of Sterling parnters with a number of organizations to retain existing businesses and attract new development in the area.  Looking forward, the City hopes to see development on the Riverfront, the western edge of town, and the retail corridor.  Please find additional information here on the business parks, TIF districts, Enterprise Zone (EZ), and local partners.

Business Parks

The City of Sterling has worked very closely with the Greater Sterling Development Corporation to create quality tracts of land that are ideal for light industry and business development. Each of the three parks are at various stages of development and have slightly different usage characteristics. All of the parks are contained within the Whiteside County Enterprise Zone (EZ).  For more information on Sterling's four Business Parks and Greater Sterling Development Corporation, please click here.

TIF Districts

TIF stands for Tax Increment Financing. With this development tool, financially strapped local governments can make the improvements they need, like new roads or sewers, and provide incentives to attract new businesses or help existing businesses stay and expand. And TIF does this without tapping into general municipal revenues or raising taxes.  For information regarding Sterling's three TIF districts, please click here.


Enterprise Zone

In September of 1987 the City of Sterling initiated an application for enterprise zone certification with the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs. In the meantime, the Cities of Rock Falls, Morrison and Whiteside County decided it would be a good idea to participate and be included. On March 30, 1988 the Whiteside County Enterprise Zone received certification designating the Cities of Morrison, Rock Falls, Sterling and rural areas in Whiteside County as an enterprise zone for 20 years. In 1990 designated areas of Prophetstown, Fulton and Lyndon were added and in 1991 parts of Carroll County including areas in Savanna and Thomson were added to the zone. In 2003 areas located in Mt. Carroll were also added to the zone. At the present time the Whiteside/Carroll Enterprise Zone consists of areas in the nine communities and two counties of which are Sterling, Rock Falls, Morrison, Fulton, Lyndon, Prophetstown, Savanna, Thomson, Mt. Carroll and the rural areas of Whiteside and Carroll Counties. In 2003 the zone termination date was successfully extended from 2008 through 2018.  For more information on Sterling's Enterprise Zone, please click here.


The City of Sterling prides itself in forming lasting partnernship with community oganizations.  The City partners with four local organizations: Greater Sterling Development Corporation, Sauk Valley Area Chamber of Commerce, Sterling Main Street, and Sterling Today. To find out about each of these organizations, please click on their name.

Greater Sterling Development Corp
Sauk Valley Area Chamber of Commerce
Sterling Main Street
Sterling Today