Ray Lees, Planning Program Manager at Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, contains a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to development work in Greater Peoria.
“One of the things that age does bring to you is a little historical context,” said Lees, “and to see the cycles of how things work in the community.”
With an extensive background in architectural engineering, Lees said he sees his position at Tri-County as somewhat of a second career. But his involvement in planning goes back decades when he spent over 20 years on the Peoria Planning Commission, serving for 17 of those years as chairman. He was also involved in the creation of the region’s initial economic development council in the 1970s.
Lees is tasked with a variety of responsibilities for the numerous projects currently underway at Tri-County — from the Peoria Lakes Comprehensive Conservation Plan and the Regional Complete Streets project to numerous collaborations with local municipalities and their individual planning efforts.
A high level of collaboration with communities and partner organizations is key to successful planning, said Lees.
“Often in the planning process a lot of people in the community are doing really good things, but we might not stop to look over the fence at what the next guy is doing,” said Lees. “Let’s work together and leverage resources to achieve greater things.”
That collaborative spirit is what hooked Lees into this work, and it is what keeps him in the game.
“It’s been in my nature. I really enjoy this work and doing something positive for the community,” he said. “And most of the people doing this work are positive people and great to be around.
“There is certainly a ‘give-back’ aspect, and wanting to make positive changes and understand what needs to be done and apply your talent and resources to get that work done.”
Together with Tri-County and our numerous other regional partners, we are getting that work done. We look forward to conitnuing to work with Tri-County to make sure Greater Peoria remains a great place to work, live, and play for generations to come.