The meeting took place in Restoration
Hall at Lincoln Christian College and Seminary. LCCS President Keith
Ray made the opening remarks. Dr. Ray acknowledged the presence of
Lincoln College President Ron Shilling, saying that the two colleges
make an economic impact on the community and "we care" about what
Ray said he has also been involved
with a group of business leaders who meet regularly to pray for
Lincoln. The vision of the Community Builders group is to instill
hope, foster health and wholesomeness in Lincoln. That group stands
ready to be supportive in efforts to move Lincoln forward.
Many of those in attendance are
already a significant part of the forces that are moving Logan
County forward at this time. There were members of Lincoln City
Council; Logan County Board; community leaders for Chestnut, Atlanta
and Mount Pulaski; as well as members of the Lincoln and Logan
County Development Partnership; Logan County Regional Planning
Commission; Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County; and the
Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce. This meeting gave them a
chance to more fully understand all that is being done by different
entities and how it all plays together.
A significant number of citizens
occupied a portion of the audience also. A business owner and
resident in Lincoln said that she just got her property tax bills,
and it reminded her of her responsibility as a citizen and taxpayer
to know about what is going on. Another citizen said that his family
farms and uses GIS. He was interested in the GIS portion of the
Four speakers presented information
on developing a new comprehensive plan for Logan County and the
integration of a geographic information system, a comprehensive
economic development strategy and an economic development website.
The Logan County Regional Planning
Commission is contracting with the McLean County planning team to
work on the Logan County Comprehensive Plan. The team brings a level
of experience, knowledge and equipment that will reduce costs and
expedite the development. The cost will be $55,000.
Paul Russell, director of the McLean
County Regional Planning Commission, led the audience through all
the steps that will take place in the development. He explained why
we need a plan, what is in the plan and how it lays our path into
the future. "This is your road map," he said.
The information collected will take
into account detailed information of all that is already here:
businesses, services, average incomes and population demographics,
utilities, transportation, and more.
It will set a vision for the future
that can be used by zoning to evaluate where and what type of
development should take place
Lastly, Russell pointed out, we will
need to keep in mind that this is not an end product; it needs
continual updating to remain viable.
The plan gathers statistical
information that leads the way in decision-making for the type of
future that we want here in Logan County. At the community level
this can be seen in planning where to use resources, such as
planning major road improvements.
Russell will meet monthly with the
planning commission during the process. A preliminary plan is
expected in six to nine months once the process is started.
Logan County highway engineer Tom
Hicks demonstrated the Ogle County GIS. He said that this is a good
model and is what the Logan County system should look like when it
The system begins with aerial
digital photography, which is then made into maps. The technology
used provides a high degree of accuracy. The maps are then detailed
into land parcels. After that they go to mappers, who draw in and
label roads and other information. Then there are many layers of
information that can be placed over the maps. The GIS site is
designed to turn layers on and off according to the needs of the
[to top of second column in this article]
To see how this works, go to
choose "Public Area."
Our photography was done with a
state grant last spring, Hickman said. The county has it set up to
pay for the continued development through certain fees collected
through the county clerk's office.
Digitalized maps are now available
for sale from the county highway department. They can serve many
purposes. He demonstrated to the audience how you can see details on
the maps, starting with the entire county, zooming in on Lincoln,
then Lincoln Christian College, then the building where the meeting
was held, and you could even see the parking lot light poles and the
makes of the cars that were in the parking lot at the time the
pictures were taken.
The maps show contour and accurate
property measurements. With this, municipalities can plan sewer
systems and zoning. The state and county will use the maps for
We are still in the early
development of the system, Hickman said. The digitalized map will
soon be sent off to a mapper, which will be chosen in accordance
with their particular capabilities, what we need shown and costs. It
is expected to take a year before it is back, Hickman said.
Dewey Colter, who is also employed
by the county as coordinator and zoning officer, has taken charge of
developing our comprehensive economic development strategy. Colter
has served many years in government, with a focus on economic
development, and had experience with CEDS. He has seen the benefits
to those who are set up, compared with those who are not. "If you
are going to keep pace with a global economy, you are going to have
to keep up with change," Colter said.
The CEDS will enable us to qualify
for federal grant money. It used to be much easier to get these
funds, but now it is performance-based and the government wants to
see that they will get a return on their investment, Colter said.
You need a plan in place and to be able to show that you are
following it. "CEDS starting point is where we are tonight," he
Rob Orr announced that a website
that provides detailed information about our communities will be
available in a few weeks. The Web presence will draw companies and
individuals seeking new places and provide them with many details
they would need that would allow them to make quick decisions.
Orr, who is the Lincoln and Logan
County Development Partnership director, underscored the importance
of all the work that has been done and is proposed in the future
interest of the citizens of Logan County. He said he thought he
spoke for everyone who has been doing this work: "The reason we do
this is so we all have a nice place to live." We want to have jobs
and buy nice cars and homes, or even if we want to drive a distance
to work and live here, we want it to be nice.
The comprehensive plan is what we
need to do to have an idea of how to get there.
"Our vision at the Lincoln/Logan
County Development Partnership is for Logan County to be the best
county in Illinois in which to live," Orr said.
Recent related articles