Tri-County Regional Planning Commission may bring back outside facilitator
By CHRIS KAERGARD (firstname.lastname@example.org)
OF THE JOURNAL STAR
Posted Nov 25, 2011 @ 11:21 PM
PEORIA —An effort to take a more unified approach to economic development in central Illinois is gaining more momentum.
On Thursday, the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission is expected to vote on a request from the Illinois River Valley Council of Governments to bring back an outside facilitator to lead a discussion on putting together a regional strategy for economic development.
That will likely entail bringing back Frank Knott of Maryland-based ViTAL Economy, who last month made a preliminary presentation at the Peoria Civic Center on the benefits of regional cooperation. About 60 leaders from area governments, economic development staffs and businesses participated.
Because IRVCOG includes representatives from Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford counties and the municipalities in them, “their stamp of approval on this and request for (Tri-County) to move forward sends a strong message of the desire for more collaboration on economic development in the region,” Tri-County Chairman Mike Phelan said. “The momentum is there.”
As the process moves forward, Phelan said it’s important the officials who now handle economic development at the Economic Development Council for Central Illinois – who potentially would continue to do so with more unified regional guidance – are involved in the discussions.
“At the end of the day, everyone wants results, but the process by which we achieve those is also important,” he said.
If Tri-County votes to bring back Knott, the full scope of what he’ll address still will need to be decided, but it is likely to take several months. The price tag for his efforts is likely to be about $25,000, paid for by Tri-County.
It also is possible Peoria County might consider asking Knott for assistance on some economic development work specific to the county, Phelan said.
Chris Kaergard can be reached at 686-3135 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisKaergard.