Some GPEDC updates to end your week (and your year!):
Podcast: If you want to get to know Lenora, our Director of Business Attraction, a bit better and also get a better understanding of her work, check out her interview on the Economic Development Show podcast. This is the same podcast that interviewed me a few months ago, and our friend Amanda Beadles of Chillicothe before that. Lenora does a great job outlining her approach to building the case for Greater Peoria. I’m not sure the listenership of the podcast, but at least one of our partners at Ameren reached out and told her he enjoyed it. Give it a listen.
Interagency Working Group: GPEDC was happy to help coordinate an interesting opportunity this week. In response to policy initiatives that will impact local economies that are connected to coal powered energy production, the federal government organized the “Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Development” or IWG for short. Greater Peoria has three coal fired power plants that have either closed (Havana) or will be closing (Edwards in Peoria County, Powerton in Tazewell County). Across the country, “Rapid Response” teams are being formed that represent a cross section of federal agencies who will work to help direct funding through their statutory and special programs into initiatives that help in economic recovery and resiliency. On Wednesday, the Illinois Basin Rapid Response Team, coordinated by the US Department of Agriculture – Regional Development (USDA-RD) team, hosted a “funders roundtable” in Havana. Communities were invited to submit outlines for potential projects and to make a presentation to professionals from USDA-RD, US Department of Energy, US Economic Development Administration, US Environmental Protection Agency, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, US Small Business Administration, University of Illinois Extension and Illinois Innovation Network. The panel gave feedback to presenters and directed them to potential funding sources. The whole event was modeled on a similar opportunity organized by GPEDC a few years ago. Presentations were made regarding projects in Havana, Lewiston, Table Grove, Canton and Elmwood. Lenora also presented an idea about the creation of a “megasite” for future industrial use. It was a really great day of helping our communities better understand how their important projects might find funding.
A (Brief) Year in Review: This is my last Weekend Update of the year, and it got me thinking about what a great year it has been. The picture below was taken at the Big Table event in October. It is one of the only times you would have found the entire GPEDC staff in one place. But it was also the last big event in a stretch of four weeks that included a big thing each week: Startup Showcase, CareerSpark, Site Selector Familiarization Visit and Big Table. Like they did all year, this team was up to the task of successfully developing and executing programs that help improve our region. I am so proud to lead this team. Each of them is fiercely dedicated to the job, our mission and our region. My thanks to them for their hard work and passion this past year, but my thanks, too, to the investors in GPEDC that make this all possible. Economic Development is truly a team sport and all of us – investors, staff, stakeholders, partners – are working together to make our vision a reality. If you are reading this, I consider you part of the team.
However, you celebrate, enjoy the rest of 2022. Here is to an even more productive and successful New Year.