[June 23, 2014]LINCOLN - At the regular monthly
voting session of the Logan County Board on Tuesday, the Lincoln &
Logan County Economic Development Partnership interim executive
director Bill Thomas was present.
Logan County Board Chairman Robert Farmer recommended appointing
Thomas to serve on the Economic Development Council of Central
Illinois’ Economic Development District (EDD), and also for a
subcommittee of the EDD, the Comprehensive Economic Development
Strategy (CEDS) Committee.
Thomas was already involved representing Logan County to the
five-county Economic Development District.
Thomas became interim director for the Development Partnership in
February and put himself on a crash course pace learning what could
be done during what has become a period a big transitions in Logan
County, including learning about the opportunities now afforded to
Logan County through its new partnership with the EDD.
Having learned quite a lot in a short period, Thomas said that he
wanted to take a minute to help the board members “understand what
this five county economic development group is that we belong to,
because it has taken me well over a month or two to understand it.”
Thomas said that in the process, he had come to recognize the EDD
and the CEDS value, and understand why we should be actively
involved in it.
He then gave a little history. Going back to its beginning, in 1993
when three counties - Tazewell, Woodford and Peoria - created an
Economic Development Council. Unfortunately, the way they structured
that group failed to allow federal government to easily give them
grants, he said.
So they moved to an Economic Development District with a new
In the process of forming the EDD, they realized that those three
counties were fairly well off, and the federal government wasn't
inclined to give them grant money. They then sought asking
disadvantaged counties to join, and brought in Mason County, and
then Logan County.
We are now part of a five-county Economic Development District. A
subcommittee of the District is called CEDS - Comprehensive Economic
Bill Martin represented the county on both the Economic Development
District and the CEDS Committee.
"The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy is important to us
in Logan County because it creates the document; the grant
application that gets sent to the commerce department in
(Washington) D.C. asking for money; and if we don't put our name in
there in terms of asking for money for the project that we would
like to see funded here in Logan County, then our voice won't be
heard," Thomas said.
“So, it is really important that we have someone in there actively
involved on CEDS and on the District as a whole. Don't that make
sense” he said.
The CEDS Committee also has subcommittees. One of them deals with
higher education and forming relationships with universities to help
the EDD in its work.
“Logan County has an empty chair on the higher education
subcommittee of CEDS,” Thomas said, and he urged the chairman to
Logan County is currently already benefiting from membership in the
Thomas told about two very quick benefits that are already tangible
for us as we are part of the five county EDD that manufacturers and
businesses in Logan County are currently taking advantage of.
One is a supply chain grant program. With this program any
manufacturer could sign up. The program would help them to figure
out ways to better diversify what they manufacture, gain new
markets, and develop new products. We have three different
manufacturers in the county working on that project right now, he
There was also a business retention and expansion program that
allowed for 30 site visits, and Logan County was allocated six
visits. There were three businesses from Lincoln, one from Emden,
one from Atlanta and one from Mount Pulaski participating. It is
free consultation advice on how to make their business expand or
better retain what they are currently doing, he said.
Thomas said, “The biggest thing is to make sure that our voice is
heard on the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy document."
David Blankenship made the motion with Chuck Ruben seconding that
Thomas continue on the EDD by appointment of the Logan County Board,
and that he also represent the county on the Comprehensive Economic
Development Strategy (CEDS) Committee.
With all twelve board members present, the motion was
hairman Farmer also recommended appointing board member David
Hepler to the Higher Education Committee, a subcommittee of the
CEDS. This also
was approved unanimously.
Logan County Board members: Chairman Robert Farmer,
Vice-chairman David Hepler, Andy Anderson, Rick Aylesworth,
Kevin Bateman, David Blankenship, Emily Davenport, Andy Meister,
Pat O’Neill, Chuck Ruben, Gene Rohlfs and Jan Schumacher.
To read the current CEDS document for the Economic
Development Council for Central Illinois, click
Here are a couple of excerpts from the opening
information on the Economic Development
Council for Central Illinois CEDS:
The2012-2017 CEDS Draft for Public Comment
released in September 2012, one month before Logan County was
approved. Logan County is referenced as a potential participant with
its information added separately.
Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) is the result of a planning
process designed to enhance the economic growth of the Central
Illinois Region. The Central Illinois Economic Development District
(EDD) consists of Mason, Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford Counties. The
purpose of the CEDS is to establish a process that 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. ...
"EDDs, such as
Central Illinois, play a key role in local economic development.
Instead of having to respond to individual requests from over 2,000
eligible county economic development organizations around the
nation, EDDs assist the EDA in establishing regional priorities for
projects and investments. These multicounty or other regional
planning organizations are governed by boards comprised of local
elected officials and private sector representatives from cities,
towns and counties."
What is CEDS
and what went into the Logan County CEDS?
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."
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."