The primary purpose for the occasion Thursday was to implement the
Logan County Economic Development Master Plan, but it was also to
welcome and thank Aldi's for their interest in our community.
"Hopefully, we're going to warm things up in Logan County and make
things happen," Lincoln & Logan County Development Partnership's
director Mike Maniscalco began.
The plan will use volunteer leadership, as well as volunteers
from the communities, in committees to get the ideas together, and
then present the ideas back to the communities.
The new committee leaders for the top initiatives in Logan 2.0,
Grow Lincoln and Logan County were introduced.
Kristi Powell, who is with Heartland Community College, will head
"Leveraging Higher Education Assets." -- Powell said, "I'm looking
forward to leveraging all the higher education schools, and the
schools in communities in Lincoln and Logan County. I'm very excited
to get this off the ground."
Lincoln businessman David Lanterman took interest in "Creating a
compelling place." -- Lanterman observed that as committees met
during formation, it was interesting to see how interrelated all
their goals are: education needs in schools, today's virtual
interests and infrastructure. He said we need to show others why we
want to continue to live here and figure out how to bring people in.
Mark Houpt is steering 21st "Century Infrastructure and
Cultivating Entrepreneurialism" -- Houpt compared the group and its
course to the constitution: "‘We the people,' we are many different
people of backgrounds and many different professions, not only here
in Logan County. This group right here have come together; we are
forging our future with respect to our past that is rich in
Crystal Alley will serve as Logan 2.0's chief operating officer
-- Alley was enthusiastic and encouraging to all the initiative
leaders, saying she is enjoying working with everyone and looking
forward to the things to come from working this plan together.
Maniscalco said the development partnership had worked to get as
many communities involved in and supporting the development of the
master plan as it could. Representatives from a couple of the
communities were present, at which time he asked if they would like
to share a few words.
For the city of Lincoln, Mayor Keith Snyder recognized the
presence of city council members Marty Neitzel, Kathy Horn and David
Wilmert, who with several of their colleagues enormously supported
the master plan. The city endorsed the plan back in October of 2010.
Snyder went on to recognize that the council has already been
hard at work on several projects, including having a high-speed rail
planning team; downtown development just got a $675,000 streetscape
grant; work has continued weekly on LDC -- there is hope there; and
the city has not given up on a fiber-optic network. He also
appreciated Aldi's interest in Lincoln and their plans to expand.
The mayor said that the Lincoln aldermen have been working
steadily on many projects that will make Lincoln a better place and
improve the economy. "I'm very proud of the council working on these
things," he said.
Atlanta Mayor Fred Finchum said that many people in his
community, with some help coming from the development partnership,
have also been working steadily on their economic development, and
Atlanta increased its population, going from 1,642 to 1,692 in 10
years. He said it might not sound like much to some, but Atlanta was
the only community in Logan County with net growth. The new golf
course and residential community surrounding it contributed. The
Atlanta community leaders are continuing to work at growth and
appreciative of the partnership's participation with them.
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Representatives of Aldi were appreciative of the cooperation from
the city of Lincoln and the development partnership's assistance.
A representative spoke who has been with the company since 1983
and oversaw planning for Lincoln's first Aldi store. He said that
Lincoln's Aldi opened in 1983 with a 10,000-square-foot store. Ten
years later, the current store opened with 15,000 square feet of
space. The company plans to break ground this spring to open this
fall with a new 16,700-square-foot building.
The development partnership's new president, Steve Smith, briefly
shared his vision for Logan County's development in the next year.
He hopes to change the perception that when it comes to the
partnership's interests, "everything is in Lincoln." A stronger
effort is being made to reach out to all the communities in the
county and bring everyone into the master plan as it unfolds.
"Lincoln is doing great. But the goal is to partner with every
community. For Lincoln and Logan County to grow into the future, it
has to be collective," he said.
Smith commended the new executive director for his first seven
months, recalling, "We fed him to the lions right when he got here.
There was a plan to close Logan [prison]. That didn't happen."
Maniscalco was part of a team that included the chamber of
commerce and community leaders who interceded on behalf of Logan
In addition to implementing the master plan and reaching out to
communities, the partnership is also working on grants and other
He's pleased to have Maniscalco with the partnership "and to see
everyone coming together. Everything is becoming more cohesive."
As one last thing, he said, "We're looking for people in the
community to come and join these committees. If you have an interest
in any of the initiatives, let us know."
Maniscalco then thanked the Woods Foundation and USDA Rural
Development for funding for the plan and all those in the community
who have helped create it.
He encouraged individuals to look at the initiatives and stay up
on what is happening through the new website.
"Volunteer sign-up information is on the website," he said, "and
people can see updates on many of the things the partnership is
Past related articles
Lincoln & Logan County
1555 Fifth St.
Lincoln, IL. 62656
Executive director: Mike