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Main Street Lincoln to receive
Illinois FIRST funds

[AUG. 11, 2001]  Main Street Lincoln will receive a financial boost for some specific projects, thanks to a state grant facilitated by former Sen. Bob Madigan. The grant from the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs totals $37,000.

More than half that amount, $20,000, will be used for an incentive plan for new downtown businesses. Main Street’s Economic Restructuring Committee is charged with providing the details.

"We are extremely excited about the possibilities," said Wendy Bell, Main Street program manager. "Currently, if a new business comes to us and asks for financial help, we have nothing to offer them. This can help fill a gap for smaller owner-operated businesses."

The Economic Restructuring Committee is currently gathering information from other programs, including the Seminary Street plan in Galesburg and a survey compiled by Illinois Main Street. These will provide the data about what works in other communities and what doesn’t, so Main Street Lincoln will know what is best to offer locally. It is estimated it will take several months to put the plan in place, with incentives being available early in 2002.

Another $2,000 will be used to help identify the recently debuted downtown historic walking tour, "Walking on the Path of Abraham Lincoln." A brochure funded by the city of Lincoln currently takes you to the christening site; the State Bank of Lincoln display of Lincoln-related work by artists Lloyd Ostendorf and Leonard Volk; the Lincoln House Hotel, Robert Latham home and Lincoln lot sites; the Rustic Inn; Logan County Courthouse; and the Depot. Other local historical sites are indicated as well, including the Lincoln College Museum and Postville Courthouse.

"Brochures are available at the Main Street office, the college museum and other locations, but the sites themselves are not marked. These funds will be used for an identification system, such as plaques, so visitors will be able to follow the route easily," said Bell.

The grant will also help complete the Indian maiden statue, scheduled to return in early October this year. The community has been contributing funds through personal donations, with names being memorialized on bricks, a permanent plaque or bench. These items are still available until Sept. 1, but the grant funds will enhance the project.


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When it returns, the statue will move to the southeast side of the courthouse as part of a garden area with benches and landscaping. A brick walkway will connect to the current sidewalk. Gene Baker Masonry is assisting in the design and donating his services as well.

Children who visit Scully Park will reap the rewards of the remaining $10,000. The funds will be used for playground equipment being planned by a subcommittee headed by Michelle Schick and Logan County Board Chairman Dick Logan. Main Street Lincoln restored the park’s fountain and added picnic tables, trash receptacles, historic lighting and a wrought-iron entryway last year.

"The number of people who use the park has dramatically increased, and the play equipment is antiquated," said Logan. "However, new equipment is expensive; these funds will give us a good start."



"We are ecstatic," said Bell, when asked about the grant. "This will move projects off the drawing board that would suffer due to lack of funds and move them to the top of our work plan. However, it’s important to remember this grant will be used specifically for projects, not operational funds. We couldn’t keep the door open to do the work if it weren’t for the businesses and individuals who support us financially and as volunteers."

Main Street Lincoln was designated in 1994 and is dedicated to revitalizing the downtown area. It is one of more than 50 Illinois communities participating in the national Main Street program initiated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1980 to help communities revitalize their historic or traditional commercial areas.

[News release]


Related articles from the LDN archives:

Lincoln/Logan County Chamber declares cooperative business-education goal

[JULY 24, 2001]  At a recent Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce luncheon, members were reminded of the chamber’s purpose. The chamber of commerce is a catalyst for community progress, bringing business and professional people together to work for the common good of Lincoln and Logan County.

The program emcee was Nick Stokes of Union Planters Bank, who is chairman of the chamber Membership Committee. Board President Todd Lowman of Garland Gehrke Trucking presented the keynote address. Lowman apprised the gathering of old and new business members that this year’s emphasis is on economic development for the community. This year the chamber has set forth a goal of working with businesses through education. "The most challenging issue facing employers is finding reliable employees," Lowman stated. With this in mind the chamber has initiated a new program that works through education to develop potential good employees.

Bobbie Abbott says that the first step in this process was taken earlier this year through a business breakfast meeting. They surveyed businesses, asking what is right and working for them and what their needs are. Using the information generated from those questionnaires, the chamber recognized the potential of working with educators to meet those needs. The next step is already in process to meet those needs.

Lowman explained that the chamber is working with Lincoln Community High School, with what is called the Chamber Academy, to bring together the needs of businesses and education. The chamber is coordinating with vocational-technical and work preparatory training programs to communicate business needs and find job internships. Internships not only provide experience for the student and supply local businesses with needed employees at lower training costs but also often result in businesses gaining good long-term employees.


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[Pictured in front are Nettie Bates, WLLM; Carol Howe, Community Living Options; Sandy Adkins and Mitzie Welsh, Dairy Queen; Marcia Greenslate, Lincoln Park District; Linda Skeadas, American Red Cross; Ed Stanfield, Glenn Brunk Stationers; and Shawn Taylor, Logan Lanes. In back are Randy Belsley, Diversified Buildings; Patrick Doolin, Integrity Data; Jim Ash, WMNW; Celeste Rogers, Precision Products; Jim Newsome, Team Express; and Annette Schishler, Pepsi Cola Bottlers. Big Oak Hunting Paradise and A. Lincoln General Store & Bakery were also recognized for their new membership status.]

After the program is developed, the intention is to take it to the other schools in the county.

Thirty-five veteran members of the chamber attended the luncheon to welcome the new members into the organization. Fifteen new businesses were inducted at the end of the luncheon at the Restaurant at the Depot. The ceremony recognized businesses that have joined the chamber since the beginning of the year.




Lincoln businesses get an education
on workforce education

[JULY 23, 2001]  Representatives from Lincoln businesses had the opportunity to listen and learn about additional training to keep their workforce current with today’s rapidly changing technologies. State grants are available for financial assistance with that training,

"State tax dollars, in the form of grants, are there to be used," Heartland Community College representative Melinda Harper told the gathering. "We have about $75,000 available for workforce training over the next year. The grants can provide financial assistance, in the form of refunds for up to 50 percent of the training, to an employer."

During a Chamber of Commerce mixer Thursday evening at the local branch of the community college, about 30 people from a wide variety of Lincoln companies listened to three speakers from HCC Corporate Education talk about a number of programs available to all businesses interested in additional training of their workforce.

HCC Corporate Education provides employee training for both individual and company needs. They also facilitate the state grants available to the region stretching from Lincoln to Pontiac.

Representatives Melinda Harper and Scot Smigel explained how the program works: Companies interested in providing additional training for their employees contact Heartland. Heartland Corporate Education and the employer meet to discuss general and specific training needs. They jointly develop a training program, based on types of training needed, when and where the training is to be done, and how long it should take. HCC Corporate Education calculates the cost of the desired program and identifies which grants are available for financial assistance. Heartland also develops and executes the training, providing expert instructors and required training materials. After the successful completion of the program, Heartland will give the employer a check for the agreed upon financial assistance from the chosen grant.

The types of training include computer skills, industrial and technical skills, and leadership and management training.

During an informal question-and-answer session afterward, Bob Jeckel of Frontier Mutual Insurance asked, "What types of training are there? We wonder if some of our employees have skills that could be used better in other areas."


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Smigel responded, "There are all types of training available, based on the employers’ desires. HCC Corporate Education can do an assessment and evaluation of employee skills."

Later, he explained welding training and certifications to Don Bode of Bode Welding.

The attendees also listened to a brief presentation by Sara Baker on the internship program at Heartland. Ms. Baker explained benefits there are for employers using interns — the ability to plug in employees with focused, specific skills where needed. Some companies hire their interns full-time, thus reducing the training curve normally associated with new employees. None in attendance had any interns currently at their companies.

Local companies interested in taking advantage of the training programs and grant monies should contact Kari Oetzel, HCC Corporate Education program assistant, at (309) 268-8803. With any questions about the internship program, contact Sara Baker at (309) 268-8035. Additional information can be found at the Heartland website: http://www.hcc.cc.il.us.

[Jim Stone]


The Chamber Report

Chamber calendar of events for August

Through Aug. 5 — Logan County Fair

Aug. 2 — Chamber board meeting, Chamber office, 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m.

Aug. 3 — Grand opening ribbon-cutting, Logan Lanes, 1700 Fifth St., noon

Aug. 6 — Economic Development Council, Chamber office, 5 p.m.

Aug. 9 — Government/Education Committee, Al’s Main Event, 7:30 a.m.

Aug. 10-19 — Illinois State Fair

Aug. 14 — Marketing Committee, Grapes and Grounds, 8:30 a.m.

Aug. 17 — Membership Committee, Restaurant at the Depot, 4 p.m.

Aug. 23 — Chamber mixer and festival kickoff party, Maple Ridge Care Centre

Aug. 24-26 — Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival

Aug. 28 — Tourism board meeting, 5 p.m.

Aug. 29 — Economic Development Council, City Hall, 4:30 p.m.

Aug. 30 — Executive Committee, Blue Dog Inn, noon-1 p.m.

The Chamber of Commerce is a catalyst for community progress, bringing business and professional people together to work for the common good of Lincoln and Logan County.

Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce

303 S. Kickapoo St., Lincoln

(217) 735-2385

Fax (217) 735-9205



Honors & Awards

Main Street Corner News

August calendar for Main Street Lincoln

Tuesday, Aug. 7 — Executive meeting, 4:30 p.m., Main Street Lincoln office

Wednesday, Aug. 8 — Main Street Lincoln board meeting, 5:30 p.m. Union Planters conference room

Wednesday, Aug. 15 — Mornings on Main, 7:30 a.m., Union Planters conference room

Wednesday, Aug. 15 — Looking for Lincoln, 7 p.m., Union Planters conference room

Thursday, Aug. 23 — Festival of Trees committee meeting

Friday, Aug. 24 — Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival begins

Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 25 and 26 — Main Street’s Adventure Zone at the Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival will include a cardboard maze, children’s art tent, community puzzle, giant Jelly Belly, Whopper Hopper, face painting, snow cones, story time and lots of fun for everyone.

Monday, Aug. 27 — Economic Restructuring Committee meeting, 5:30 p.m., library

Main Street Lincoln

303 S. Kickapoo

Lincoln, IL 62656

Phone: (217) 732-2929

Fax: (217) 735-9205

E-mail: manager@mainstreetlincoln.com

Job Hunt

Now Lincolndailynews.com makes it easy to look for a job in the Logan County area
with our new Job Hunt feature in the Business section.

Employers, you can list available jobs by e-mailing ldn@lincolndailynews.com. Each job listing costs $10 the first week, $20 for eight days to three months. There is a limit of 75 words per announcement.

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