Monday, June 23, 2014
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Logan County Board appoints Bill Thomas representative to Regional EDD and CEDS Committee

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[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 governance structure.

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 Development Strategy.

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 fill it.

Logan County is currently already benefiting from membership in the District.

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 said.

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.

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With all twelve board members present, the motion was approved unanimously.

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.


Related articles:

Related websites

To read the current CEDS document for the Economic Development Council for Central Illinois, click here (PDF).

Here are a couple of excerpts from the opening information on the Economic Development Council for Central Illinois CEDS:  

The 2012-2017 CEDS Draft for Public Comment was released in September 2012, one month before Logan County was approved. Logan County is referenced as a potential participant with its information added separately. 

"Comprehensive 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? 

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." 

"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."

Lincoln-Logan County Comprehensive Economic Development Plan

Lincoln & Logan County Development Partnership, NFP
Interim Executive Director Bill Thomas
1555 Fifth St.
Lincoln, IL 62656



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