It takes the initiative, cooperation and integrated efforts of
multiple committees, commissions and supporting bodies to make
things happen. It also requires that a firm foundation has been laid
and that the needed tools are in place to bring about projects.
Two years ago the Logan County Regional Planning Commission
completed one of these tools when the Logan Comprehensive Plan was
revised. Its companion tool, the Comprehensive Economic Development
Strategy, which was intended to be started after the plan was
completed, lost its footing when federal funding to write it dried
The CEDS is an important mechanism that allows communities to
apply for certain federal funds. "Barring earmarks, there's not much
at this time in federal funds that we could get," said Bill Martin,
president of the planning commission. He added that even with the
CEDS, "that doesn't mean we'll get it, but at least we'll be
Rob Orr, past director of the Lincoln & Logan County Development
Partnership, and Dewey Colter, who was then county coordinator, went
to U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood and asked what to do. LaHood and his
deputy chief of staff, Carol Merna, considered the issue and
steered them toward joining a regional effort. They recommended
Current development partnership director Joel Smiley and Martin
picked up that ball and made many trips to Peoria to meet with their
Economic Development Council's CEDS committee.
On Aug. 7, a group representing
Lincoln, other Logan County communities and the county as a whole
went to Peoria to show their support for joining the regional
organization. The contingent included:
Bill Martin --
Atlanta mayor; vice president of the Logan County Regional
Joel Smiley --
executive director of the Lincoln & Logan County Development
Bill Glaze -- Mount
Pulaski mayor; president of the Logan County Regional Planning
Kathy Horn -- Lincoln
alderwoman and city representative to the Lincoln & Logan County
Chuck Ruben -- Logan
County Board member and chairman of the finance committee
Will D'Andrea --
Logan County zoning officer; president of the Lincoln & Logan
County Development Partnership
Ron Schilling -- past
president of the Lincoln & Logan County Development Partnership;
past president of Lincoln College
In October, the Peoria committee agreed to recommend to its full
Economic Development Council to add Logan County to their regional
economic development district. Logan County would be added to
Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford and Mason counties.
The Economic Development Council for Central Illinois was
expected to approve the addition of Logan County at their meeting
Once approved, the Logan County agreement would need to pass all
five of the participating county boards and then would be sent to
the Economic Development Administration office in Chicago for final
After that the Logan County CEDS could be written and attached to
the Peoria Regional CEDS. Smiley and Martin are overseeing this
process. There would be a fee of up to $5,000 to write and set up
the CEDS. This fee would be paid in the first year only.
It was noted that this is a substantial savings over the $30,000
initial estimate made several years ago, when it was intended to
write the plan just for Logan County.
There would also be a $5,000 administrative fee paid the first
year and every year thereafter.
[to top of second column]
Joining a regional effort would improve the possibilities for
Logan County to get federal dollars. "It makes us stronger, more
competitive and gives us more muscle," Martin said. The Economic
Development Administration, which is administered by the U.S.
Department of Commerce, "smiles on a regional effort," he said. "It
is much better than standing on our own."
When Smiley came before the Lincoln
City Council and the Logan County Board earlier this year to explain
the plan, he summed it up this way: Why would Logan County want to
become part of a region-based economic agency with four other
It attracts federal
It aids in
opportunities for studies and other opportunities to share
It overcomes separation from other core
areas, becoming part of a regional effort.
Martin recalls that Peoria was devastated in the 1970s by the
deindustrialization movement, and the region has brought back its
economy. "These are husslers: aggressive, hardworking people," he
said. "We're going to learn a whole lot just by going through this
The Peoria Economic Development Council has evolved and branched
into many specialized functions. They are also part of the Heartland
Partnership. The possibilities exist that, over time, Lincoln and
Logan County could join in some of their other comprehensive ties as
well. "First we're taking baby steps," both Martin and Smiley say.
More information and possible action locally is expected by
either December or January.
On the Web:
Lincoln & Logan County
U.S. Department of Commerce,
Economic Development Administration
Development Council for Central Illinois
Heartland Partnership information
Heartland Partnership provides strategic leadership, coordinates
resources and brings to life initiatives focused on developing,
growing and nurturing the heartland economy. The partnership serves
as a catalyst for regional visioning and strategic thinking and
provides a forum for identifying regional issues and recommendations
to be considered for action by the Economic Development Council for
Central Illinois, the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce, other
subsidiaries and other appropriate nonaffiliated entities.
solutions through broad central Illinois region stewardship and
Target and encourage
quality economic innovation.
opportunity by assuring the community is highly livable.
Fortify and expand
the entrepreneurial climate.
and opportunity to regional constituents and varied external
Generate and manage heartland