repairs, good drinking water and drainage top 'want' lists in
northern Logan County
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[May 01, 2009]
On Tuesday evening, citizens
from the northern communities of Logan County were invited by the
Lincoln & Logan County Development Partnership to meet in Atlanta.
The purpose was to generate ideas that would go into the new Logan
County Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. The
documentation will become part of a regional compilation with the
Economic Development Partnership for Central Illinois. When
completed, the Logan County CEDS will come under the management of
the Logan County Regional Planning Commission.
Pictured left to right:
Logan County Regional Planning Commission member Dave Evans, Atlanta
Ward 3 Alderwoman Billie J. Cheek and Ward 2 Alderman Matt Clemmons
cast last votes, as Joel Smiley, Lincoln & Logan County Development
Partnership executive director, reviews idea sheets.
Local government representatives have been encouraged to attend one
of the four meetings open for public participation. Everyone in
attendance is encouraged to submit ideas specific to their community
for growth, maintenance or improvements.
The meetings that took place for the city of Lincoln and for
Logan County were attended by a mix of elected and appointed
officials, as well as the general public.
As it happened, the participants who turned out in Atlanta were
all elected officials with one exception, who was an appointed
official. Mayors Fred Finchum from Atlanta, Tom Anderson from
Hartsburg and Joseph McCormick from San Jose were present. Other
attendees included several Atlanta aldermen and Dave Evans from the
Logan County Regional Planning Commission.
The Lincoln & Logan County Development Partnership has sponsored
the meetings, with Tom Ackers from Heartland College acting as
facilitator and Joel Smiley, development partnership executive
director, and Bill Martin, development partnership and county board
member, assisting the process.
Each community voted for its own ideas. Participants were
provided a limited number of stickers to vote, but could vote more
than once on any proposed idea to show importance. San Jose and
Hartsburg each had only one representative present for the evening.
What do Atlanta, Hartsburg and San Jose see as possibilities in
12 votes --
Broadly: street repairs and resurfacing; curbs, sidewalks and
8 votes -- Take a
focused approach rather than shotgun approach at economic
development for certain industries. (Akers agreeably
complimented this, but cautioned not to do it exclusively.
You're going for one thing, great, but don't miss out on other
options. You want to keep a foot in each camp. Atlanta is
blessed with great highway access. So, warehousing might be a
5 votes --
Extension of drinking water supply
3 votes -- Look for
new water supply
3 votes -- Municipal 18-hole golf
- 3 votes -- Drainage for low-lying areas
- 3 votes -- Take the shotgun approach toward economic
Akers agreed, saying they did this in Centralia and it worked
very well. This is a good approach, but also lean, though not
exclusively toward a best shot. Everything is always changing,
so be ready to change.
A participant said, "There's nothing there, so, something's
got to come in."
Akers told how he has been surprised a few times driving
around the country and in a little town there will be a plant.
He recognized that happens because there was a plan.
- A number of votes -- Water main project
The above projects were the biggest vote-getters.
[to top of second column]
Documenting the stated goals and objectives enables elected
leaders to plan for the future. Having ideas in the CEDS opens
opportunities to tap into federal funding as they would become
available or to possibly qualify for low-interest government loans
for future projects.
Bill Martin said that it was already in his plans to get around
the county to visit communities as both a development partnership
representative and county board member. He offered that if there
would be interest in any of the communities, he would host a shorter
version of the same process, which might get more of the people from
those communities involved.
Akers commented that while the number of participants was a
little shy, he thought that the ideas were as plentiful and diverse
as those that came from the larger groups. He supported Martin's
offer, saying that it could generate more ideas. "It's all about
being prepared," Akers said.
The community of Emden had another function scheduled for that
evening. Officials responded that they would attend the Mount
Pulaski meeting, which is set for May 20.
For more information, contact:
Lincoln & Logan County Development Partnership, NFP
Executive Director Joel Smiley
1555 Fifth St.
Lincoln, IL 62656
On the Web
CEDS is defined by the Economic Development Council for Central
Illinois as “the result of a local planning process designed to
guide the economic growth of an area."
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 Central Illinois,
click here (PDF).