Restructuring EDC, Heartland Partnership recommended by consultant

Submitted by Denise Molina on Fri, 05/25/2012 – 9:06am

An outside economic development consultant is recommending significant changes to the Central Illinois Economic Development Council, Heartland Partnership and the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission. Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports:

Frank Knott of Vital Economy is the consultant who’s been studying the region’s economic development. Knott’s initial report said the biggest issue is lack of trust among economic stakeholders. His latest report says the Heartland Partnership and Economic Development Council are valuable assets that need to be reorganized. He says most EDC staff lack expertise in community economic development and its current structure needs to be more effective. Terry Kohlbuss is executive director of the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission.

“I think it’s true that everybody’s goal is that we have an Economic Development council that has a plan that’s broadly supported, clearly understood, that has good measurements and metrics behind it that is properly funded, where the accountability is there,” Kohlbuss says.

“The thing I really want to emphasize there is a true public-private partnership. We’ve not all been on the same page with respect to what our economic development efforts should be. The magic here is when we can all get on the same page.”

The EDC also administers the four county Economic Development District, that receives federal grants. Knott recommends the Regional Planning Commission take over that role. Renee Charles is the spokesperson for the Heartland Partnership. She says the EDC is discussing the recommendations with investors, but no decisions have been made yet on the matter.

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