Good morning, troops. It's Friday, July 13.

Earlier this year, Matt Fick left his job as Peoria Heights village administrator. Publicly, the circumstances appeared uncertain. 

But officials in Delavan appear certain Fick is the right choice for the administrator position in their city.

In mid-June, the Delavan City Council approved the hiring of Fick, who began his duties a few days later. He replaced Joe Woith, who spent 10 years as the Tazewell County city's first administrator.

"They kind of let me know economic development is something to try to focus on," Fick said about his new employers. "They had some momentum for a little while, and they'd like to get that back."

Much of that momentum came from Libby Mathers, the entrepreneur who opened two restaurants in downtown Delavan. The Harvest Cafe and The Exchange Public Saloon were renowned for their cuisine and attracted diners from all over central Illinois to the city of about 1,600 people.

The Harvest Cafe closed quietly last August. With even less notice, The Exchange closed in late February. Harvest Cafe long has been scheduled to reopen at the Junction City shopping center in Peoria, but that has yet to take place.

The departure of those restaurants and how it was done appears to remain a sore point with many in Delavan.

"To lose those businesses in the heart of our downtown was a terrible blow," Delavan Mayor Liz Skinner said. "I think what Libby Mathers did was prove to everyone that Delavan can be a great destination. We know we can bring that back, but we need somebody to help us with that.

"I think Matt is the guy at this time."

Peoria Heights has its own restaurant row, along Prospect Road. But Fick suggested an approach that's more holistic than pursuing niche dining establishments might be better for Delavan. Agriculture-related businesses are an example.

"I'm trying to get an understanding about what opportunities there are for job creation," Fick said.

After nine years in Peoria Heights, Fick departed in April, apparently for no other job. Dustin Sutton, the Heights police chief, became interim village administrator.

Neither Fick nor Skinner discussed Heights particulars with Nick in the Morning, but the mayor said she and council members discussed them with each other.

"The recommendations I had from other people who have worked with (Fick) were just so glowing, and these are people I certainly trust and put great faith in," Skinner said. "We really didn't give it a second thought."

Fick's job status in Delavan is part time. He is to be paid about $52,000 annually, according to Skinner. That arrangement appears to be fine with Fick, who said he is pursuing additional opportunities.

But the focus for now is pursuing entities that can fill empty Delavan storefronts, among other places.

"I'm able to focus a little more exclusively on that now," Fick said. "Day to day, it isn't quite as hectic as it was in the Heights."