Report finds glaring issues, opportunities for Tri-County economy

Submitted by Alex Rusciano on Fri, 03/30/2012 – 9:51am

A report from an outside economic development expert found glaring issues in the Tri-County area this week. Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports:

In December, The Tri-County Regional Planning Commission approved a contract to use Frank Knott of Vital Economy as part of an effort to facilitate the next economic development strategy for the area. Knott presented his initial findings last night. He says the biggest issue is a lack of trust among economic stakeholders in the region:

“What is the definable goal we’re going towards in the next five years, how am I going to measure it, how do I know what I’m doing, and who is responsible, who is accountable?,” Knott says.

“And if I don’t know the answer to those questions, how do I know who to trust? How do I know who to collaborate with?”

Knott says the region is rated weak or below average in eight of ten best practices of economic development. Those areas include a lack of regional collaboration, no traditional benchmarks to measure progress, and a lack of a one-stop-shop for economic and business information. Knott presented his findings after spending three weeks interviewing more than 250 economic and community leaders in the area. He’s set to present his final recommendation at the end of April or Mid-May. Knott says the findings are an opportunity for the region to re-assess ways to become more integrated by sharing resources and connecting innovation centers, governments and businesses.

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