It's been a rough few years for Delavan.
The southern Tazewell County city of just over 1,600 people lost its only grocery store to a fire in 2014. An EF-2 tornado in July 2015 damaged or destroyed 51 homes in town. And the city's 80-year-old National Guard Armory closed in 2016 after the Army shifted the 1144th Transportation Motor Transport Battalion out-of-state.
Declining, aging populations and business losses are nothing new for many rural towns across the country. Delavan is no exception.
Where this small town stands out from the rest of the pack lies on the edge of town: 75,000 square feet of cannabis growing and processing space, with another 75,000 square feet on the way.
Revolution Global started up a marijuana cultivation facility in Delavan in 2015 in the early days of the state's medical cannabis pilot program. The legalization of recreational marijuana sales in Illinois on January 1, coupled with the addition of a number of common conditions which can make one eligible for a medical cannabis prescription, is spurring the company towards rapid expansion.
Local officials say the $11 million in tax-increment financing (TIF) funds and hundreds of jobs the cannabis cultivation center is set to generate over the next 20 years will be a game-changer.
"That's huge for any community, but for a small community like Delavan, it's really big. And with their plans, it could easily double," said Delavan Mayor Liz Skinner.
The CEO of Revolution Global said the company is invested in Delavan for the long haul.
Mark de Souza said the company is hiring more than 200 additional employees in the coming months to supplement the 100 who already work on site. The company sold off other Illinois assets to invest more heavily in its Delavan site.
Revolution purchased the former Harvest Cafe and other buildings in the city's downtown area to convert to restaurants and second-floor apartments last year. But he said that's just the beginning.
"Restaurants, bars, doctors, grocery stores. Things like that are as important to us as operating our core business. Because our people have to have access to the same things that you do who live here," he said.