On May 17th, Kathie Brown, our Director of Rural Development and Outreach, and Sally Hanley, Director of Business Assistance, organized a familiarization trip to Havana for various stakeholders. They worked with Havana’s Chamber of Commerce and the City to take advantage of Havana’s “3rd Tuesday Business Coffee,” a networking opportunity for businesses in and around the Havana area.
The focus of this collaboration was the Heart of Illinois Regional Port District (TransPORT). Dan Silverthorn and Bob Sinkler of the Heart of Illinois Regional Port District made a presentation on the efforts of TransPORT and the importance of maritime commerce along the Illinois River.
They updated the attendees on the reinvigorated TransPORT Board. They discussed the Illinois Waterway and the federal recognition of TransPORT as a Port Statistical Area.
The Illinois Waterway, part of the Corn Belt Ports that include the Upper Mississippi and Missouri Rivers PSAs, is ranked on the U.S. Waterborne Commerce Statistics Center’s Top 50 Principal U.S. Ports List.
The meeting was attended by about 25 local business and community leaders. The meeting was followed by a tour of various sites along the Illinois River in Havana that could be future business expansion and attraction opportunities.
The Heart of Illinois Regional Port District (TransPORT) was formed in 2003 and is located in Central Illinois. TransPORT includes Peoria, Fulton, Tazewell, Woodford, Marshall counties, and a majority of Mason County. The Havana Regional Port District covers the remaining Mason County. TransPORT’s and Havana Regional Port District’s strategic location in Central Illinois provides a tremendous logistical advantage to central Illinois’ multi-modal transportation system users. The Illinois River watershed includes 90% of the State’s population and nearly 50% of the State’s agricultural land.