Happy 2019! I love the beginning of a new year. Apart from the annoyance of learning to write “2019” instead of “2018” on letters or checks, a new year always allows for a fresh set of initiatives. Sometimes these are well-meaning but likely-doomed resolutions like “lose weight” or “relax more” but they can also be serious attempts at advancing your goals.
2019 is going to be a year for our region to work together to establish a new set of resolutions on advancing our economy. One of the core functions of Greater Peoria EDC is providing stewardship over the region’s “Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy” or CEDS. The National Association of Development Organizations gives a great, brief explanation of CEDS: “In today’s competitive global market, it is necessary for regions to have a long-term economic development strategy that can serve as a road map to progress and prosperity. CEDS does just that. It is a locally-based, regionally-driven economic development planning process and document that successfully engages a range of partners, including community leaders and residents, the private sector, educational institutions, and other stakeholders in planning for your region’s future.” You can learn more about CEDS in general here.
In 2012 and 2013, citizens, companies, governments and other stakeholders participated in the “Focus Forward Central Illinois” strategic planning sessions. The dozens of meetings, hundreds of hours and thousands of volunteer participants generated a blue print for moving the region forward. The result was the Focus Forward CentraI Illinois CEDS. This document that was formally adopted by the five counties that make up Greater Peoria and submitted to the US Economic Development Administration. The CEDS has been the playbook for GPEDC programming ever since, but is also meant to guide the plans and actions of the entire region. You can read a copy here.
However, the current CEDS is time-bound: It covers the years 2015 through 2019. As we enter 2019, we not only continue the work outlined in the current CEDS, but look towards writing a new one. The work to organize this effort starts in earnest this spring and will be lead by the CEDS Strategy Committee, a volunteer team of stakeholders appointed by the Greater Peoria EDC Board of Directors. But to have a truly thoughtful, comprehensive and meaningful CEDS, we need your participation. Be on the lookout for how you can get involved in the coming months. I am personally excited to work with all of you to craft a vision and plan for Greater Peoria. Do not hesitate to contact me or any of our staff to discuss how you can get involved.