County gathers ideas for future growth
(Originally posted Tuesday afternoon)
at left, Dan Fulscher, director of the Logan
County Emergency Management Agency, stoops to read one of many
ideas generated during Monday night's CEDS meeting.
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The process of developing ideas
to be included in the new Logan County Comprehensive Economic
Development Strategy continued Monday evening as officials and
citizens interested in the future development of the county gathered
in the courthouse rotunda for about two hours.
Tom Akers of Heartland
Community College led the exercise that generated, grouped and
prioritized projects or ideas that would stimulate growth or enhance
quality of life in Logan County.
All of the ideas would be entered into the CEDS documentation,
Akers said. This would allow application to federal and state
resources as funding for projects would become available in the
A member of the audience commented that some of the projects
listed might fall more into the category of wants than what is wise,
in comparison, and asked how it would be decided which projects
would actually come first.
Akers explained that listing projects in the CEDS "does not usurp
the normal leadership process." Leaders who are appointed or elected
are still the ones who make the decisions. This is an opportunity
for government leaders to hear what their constituents are concerned
about. You get a pretty good representative of what people want in
their community by using this process, better than by random
sampling, such as telephone polling, he said.
Once the ideas were read by everyone, they were prioritized by
sticker votes. Later, the ideas would be prioritized by government
leaders, Akers said.
Akers said that the biggest driver would be, "Where is the
money?" It comes back to what funding we can get. "We may find that
in our top 10 there's just no money for any of them," he said.
This process just tells us two things, he said:
These are our top
10, and maybe they're worth doing without having grant money.
The other thing it
may be telling us, at least for now, is that maybe we're
shooting for the moon and it's just not going to happen right
Let's be smart and get the money for the ones that we can and
forget the ones we can't afford or get money for, he said. "We might
not be able to do the top 10, but maybe we can do the next 10.
That's 10 more than we were doing before the process."
The top 10 county ideas by number of
votes generated Monday evening:
9 votes -- Road
improvements, including Fifth Street Road
9 votes --
5 votes --
Relocate the county fairgrounds (Akers commented that other
communities that have done this saw the property value of that
ground go up. Where the McLean County Fair was formerly located,
businesses such as Lowe's and eating places went in.)
5 votes -- Update,
rehab the Logan County Courthouse
5 votes -- Expand
adult education offerings: certificate programs, retraining
5 votes -- Senior
education and living center
4 votes -- Promote
and market strengths as a senior living community with good
health care, low cost of living
3 votes --
Transportation and industrial center
2 votes -- Improve
aviation infrastructure to service larger aircraft for
transportation center; increase runway lengths
2 votes -- Expand development at the
northern Lincoln exit
[to top of second column]
Another CEDS idea meeting, for communities to the north, was
scheduled for Tuesday evening from 6:30 to 8:30 at Olympia South Elementary
School, 103 NE Fifth St. in Atlanta. On May 20 a meeting for
communities to the south will take place in Mount Pulaski from 6:30
to 8:30 p.m. at a location to be announced.
Joel Smiley encouraged anyone with ideas and comments to contact
him at the Lincoln & Logan County Development Partnership. See
Lincoln & Logan
County Development Partnership, NFP
Executive Director Joel Smiley
1555 Fifth St.
Lincoln, IL 62656
is defined on the Web site of the
Development Council for Central Illinois as “the
result of a local planning process designed to guide the economic
growth of an area. A CEDS process will help create jobs, foster more
stable and diversified economies, and improve living conditions. It
provides a mechanism for coordinating the efforts of individuals,
organizations, local governments and private industry concerned with
economic development. In order for projects to qualify for Economic
Development Administration assistance under its public works,
economic adjustment, and most planning programs, the project must be
consistent with the goals and objectives set out in the CEDS.”
To read the
current CEDS document for the Economic Development Council for
On the Web