August 18, 2023

GPEDC Weekend Update- August 18, 2023

GPEDC Weekend Update 8/16/2023

I’m back! After a nice vacation that was only partly work, here are some updates from GPEDC to end your week: 

Distillery Labs Hammer Swing: It was great to see so many people attend the ceremony signaling the beginning of construction on Distillery Labs on Thursday. And thank heavens it wasn’t your typical mid-August day in the Midwest or it would have been even hotter in that space. (That’s what happens when you don’t need to have the a/c on in a building for 3+ years – it doesn’t work any more!) It was a great gathering of community and business leaders, our partners in the startup community, and most importantly a great group of entrepreneurs and future tenants. We were also joined by representatives of the two sources of capital funding (Illinois Capital Development Board and US Economic Development Administration) as well as our friends from the Illinois Innovation Network, University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana and University of Illinois Springfield. Construction (for real!) starts on Monday. Bob Sehring, chair of the board for Distillery Labs, made special mention of his appreciation to the GPEDC board and staff for all their work in getting the project to this stage. Exciting times ahead.

Choose GP Tailgate: Just as fun (and less hot) was a day long celebration of Greater Peoria on Monday. The Choose Greater Peoria team put on a fantastic event on Peoria’s riverfront. The ESPN Chicago 1000 broadcast team did their show live for four hours and remarked throughout how much fun they were having. The day was really well organized and showcased our community’s best assets. The partnership with Bears radio continues all season long with commercials about Choosing Greater Peoria airing across their radio network. Locally games are aired on WMBD 1470, but you might want to listen to the mothership station here in order to catch those commercials. Thank you to Gilmore Foundation and all the Choose Greater Peoria investors and partners on a great day.

New Investor: We are excited to announce that Iowa Interstate Railroad has joined GPEDC as our newest investor. It might seem odd to you that an Iowa railroad would invest in an Peoria economic development organization. But the Iowa Interstate operates across Illinois, including owning the line that runs up the west side of the Illinois River from just north of downtown Peoria, through Chillicothe and into Bureau County where it connects with its main east-west line. We are excited to have their support and look forward to a continued partnership.

Back-to-Business Grant: Through a grant from Illinois DCEO, GPEDC has served as the backbone “Community Navigator” for a seven county region in Central Illinois (includes McLean and Fulton counties). Our network of eleven partner agencies across this territory work with small businesses to help them understand and apply for various grants. The latest round of these state grants were the “Back-to-Business” grants for hotels, restaurants and arts businesses. This week DCEO released the winners of the first two of those three programs, and our area did very well. A total of 38 hotels across the seven counties split $2.9 million in grant dollars. For restaurants, 49 businesses split $1.8 million. You can see the full list here. Thank you to our partners for helping to support small businesses. 

Quick Hits:

  • Did you miss our second quarter report that was mailed to many of you? You can see the online version here.
  • Our friends at Pearl Technology (a member of the GP Manufacturing Network) are hosting a showcase on Monday August 28th at the Peoria Riverfront Museum. They will have twenty of the top audiovisual vendors displaying the latest advancements in video conferencing, audio, microphones, LED displays and much more. The evening will feature dinner, a planetarium show and a showing of Top Gun: Maverick on the Giant Screen Theater (with the new state of the art projection system installed by Pearl). More information here
  • Career Spark is still looking for volunteers for the in person event on September 28 and 29. Without hundreds of volunteers, you can’t shepherd nearly 5,000 kids through the Peoria Civic Center. General volunteer sign-up is open now through the online form here.  

Have a great weekend.