August 25, 2023

GPEDC Weekend Update- August 25, 2023

If you are reading this, the worst of our heatwave is over! And if you are reading this over the weekend or even on Monday, it should be a pleasant day. A few updates to end your week:

RISE Summit: Through their Young Professionals of Greater Peoria group, the Peoria Chamber of Commerce hosted the first annual “RISE Summit” this week. What a great event. Over 100 young professionals from the Peoria area and afar (including a group from Texas) spent three days investing in themselves and their professional development and learning more about Peoria. GPEDC was well represented: Lenora was an attendee, I was a speaker at one of the breakout sessions (as was my wife, an honorary GPEDC team member), and David was one of the key members of the planning team. Thank you to the Peoria Chamber team for putting on a fantastic event.

Central Illinois Cultural Assets: Kathie has been supporting faculty from the University of Illinois Fine and Applied Arts and the Department of Urban and Regional Planning to plan and implement a 2-year applied research project to address the statewide issue of recovery from the toll of the pandemic on creative and cultural workers, and cultural life in Illinois communities. This project generated expansive mapping of creative and cultural assets in Peoria, Illinois, propelled reflection and connections across Peoria’s cultural ecosystem to identify strengths and opportunities, and provided pertinent information for local and regional community and sustainability planning. You can learn more about this project – and the great assets of our region – on Tuesday, August 29 at 10. At the “Illinois Extension for Central Illinois’ Cultural Assets: Mapping Resources, People and Meaning to Propel Community and Economic Vitality” you would learn more about this inclusive and research-based approach to cultural/arts-related tourism and community development. More information and registration here.

TWG Meeting This Week: The boringly-named Technical Working Group (TWG), a monthly meeting of community and economic development stakeholders, met this week and heard great presentations from Eric Dubrowski and Jim Foley of Bradley University. Jim and Eric shared how businesses, nonprofits and local governments can access free or low-cost help on special projects by utilizing seniors at Bradley University. We had a great conversation and had a chance to better understand how to tap into this great local resource. If you want to learn more about how to participate in a Bradley student project, drop me a line and I’ll get you in touch with Jim or Eric.

Illinois Waterways Annual Meeting: GPEDC has worked with our friends at Tri-County Regional Planning Commission over the past few years to help reinvigorate the Heart of Illinois Regional Port District (aka TransPort). As important as that work has been, just as important has been connecting our local system to the wider Illinois waterways system, including the rest of the Illinois River and the Mississippi. Legislation sponsored by Sen. Dave Koehler led the creation of the Illinois Waterways Ports Commission.  Next Thursday, the first annual Illinois Waterways meeting will be held at the Peoria Riverfront Museum. The day-long event is totally free and will include information from partners and stakeholders up and down our river system. RSVP by emailing chris.smith@ilwwports.com.

Have a great weekend.