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  • September 2012

    100 SW Water Street Peoria, Illinois 61602 ph 309.495-5900 fax 309.676.7534

    Economic Development Council for Central Illinois Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Counties: Mason Peoria Tazewell Woodford

  • Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy

    2

    Table of Contents

    Executive Summary ........................................................................................ pages 3-5

    Background .................................................................................................... pages 6-26

    Economy .................................................................................................... pages 7-16

    Population ...................................................................................................... page 17

    Geography ...................................................................................................... page 18

    Workforce Development ............................................................................... page 19

    Transportation Access .......................................................................... pages 22-24

    Resources ................................................................................................ pages 24-25

    Environment ................................................................................................... page 26

    Other ......................................................................................................... pages 26-27

    Analysis of Economic Development Problems & Opportunities .......... pages 27-55

    CEDS Goals & Objectives .......................................................................... pages 56-58

    Community and Private Sector Participation .......................................... pages 59-64

    Strategic Projects, Programs & Activities ................................................ pages 65-73

    Vital Projects ........................................................................................... pages 66-67

    Suggested Projects ................................................................................ pages 67-73

    CEDS Plan of Action ................................................................................... pages 74-77

    Performance Measures ............................................................................... pages 78-79

    Appendix .......................................................................................................... pages 80+

  • September 2012

    100 SW Water Street Peoria, Illinois 61602 ph 309.495-5900 fax 309.676.7534

    Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Executive Summary

  • Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy

    2

    Executive Summary

    This Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) is the result of a planning process

    designed to enhance the economic growth of the Central Illinois Region. The Central Illinois

    Economic Development District (EDD) consists of Mason, Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford Counties.

    The purpose of the CEDS is to establish a process that will help create jobs, foster more stable and

    diversified economies, and improve living conditions. It provides a mechanism for coordinating the

    efforts of individuals, organizations, local governments and private industry concerned with economic

    development.

    In 1994 the "District Overall Economic Development Plan" for Mason, Peoria and Tazewell Counties

    was created. That Tri-County District (OEDP) Overall Economic Development Plan was overseen by

    the OEDP Board made up of 15 community leaders from the 3 Counties. In 2003 the first district

    CEDS Report was prepared for those same 3 counties. In 2004 a request to add Woodford County to

    the EDD was approved and a new CEDS was prepared. Subsequent to that is the region's most recent

    CEDS enacted in 2007.

    This CEDS document:

    Presents the Regions goals and strategies

    Describes the challenges, opportunities, and resources of the Central Illinois Region

    Details the demographics, infrastructure, and natural resources of the Region

    Establishes priority programs and projects for implementation

    Title 13, Chapter 3 of the Code of Federal Regulation identifies a CEDS as a requirement to apply for

    assistance under the Economic Development Administrations (EDA) public works and economic

    adjustment programs. Since the original Public Works and Economic Development Act (PWEDA)

    was enacted in 1965, economic development planning has been a key element in achieving EDAs

    long term goals. The Overall Economic Development Program (OEDP) process was what made EDA

    a truly effective federal/local partnership, resulting in the creation of over 320 Economic Development

    Districts (EDD) around the country, of which Central Illinois is one. The CEDS continues that

    partnership, and the basic process established to prepare and maintain the OEDP continues as Central

    Illinois has undertaken the CEDS process.

    EDDs, such as Central Illinois, play a key role in local economic development. Instead of having to

    respond to individual requests from over 2,000 eligible county economic development organizations

    around the nation, EDDs assist the EDA in establishing regional priorities for projects and

    investments. These multicounty or other regional planning organizations are governed by boards

    comprised of local elected officials and private sector representatives from cities, towns and counties.

    This CEDS document is made readily accessible to the economic development stakeholders in the

    community. In creating the CEDS, there is a continuing program of communication and outreach that

    encourages broad-based public engagement, participation and commitment of partners. The general

    public, government decision makers, and business investors are able to use this document as a guide to

    understanding the regional economy and to taking action to improve it. The strategy takes into account

    and, where appropriate, incorporates other planning efforts in the community.

  • Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy

    3

    Executive Summary

    This CEDS document is a transitional document for the region. Inasmuch as the EDA may be

    adopting new guidelines for the CEDS reports, this report will likely be modified to be consistent with

    those standards. In addition, this region is undergoing changes with respect to how regional economic

    development will be implemented in the future. Those changes are the result of a large public

    involvement process. This report reflects some of those ongoing changes.

  • September 2012

    100 SW Water Street Peoria, Illinois 61602 ph 309.495-5900 fax 309.676.7534

    Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Background

  • Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy

    5

    ECONOMY

    Brief History

    The Economic Development District currently includes four counties: Mason, Peoria, Tazewell

    and Woodford. Additionally, the Economic Development District is currently undergoing a

    boundary modification request to include Logan County. The Logan County comprehensive

    plan is included in the appendix for reference. A current overview of each county is described

    below, followed by a brief regional district history.

    Mason County is bordered by the Sangamon and Illinois Rivers, the county is well situated for

    industry as well as agriculture. With its fertile soil, the county has been recognized as one of the

    leading agricultural areas in Illinois. Since the advent of irrigation, farmers have diversified into

    many specialty crops such as popcorn, melons, green beans, peas, and pumpkins--earning the

    county title: "The Imperial Valley of the Midwest."

    Five barge terminals line the banks of the Illinois River to facilitate the movement of the

    agricultural products to their destinations. The county's transportation needs are further served by

    the intersection of seven major highways and the Union Pacific Railroad and the Illinois Midland

    Railway. Industries include Illinois Power, Walker Industries, and many agricultural support

    businesses.

    The largest community within Mason County is Havana, the County seat, with a population of

    3,301. Mason County encompasses 563 square miles and has a population of 14,656, according

    to the US Census data.

    The landscape of the county is dotted with nine incorporated municipalities, each with its own

    special history and heritage. Mason County is also home to the Jake Wolf Memorial Fish

    hatchery, Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge, Sand Ridge State Forest, Mason State Tree

    nursery, and the Sanganois Conservation Area.

    They offer unique shopping areas, historic homes, fine schools and churches, and a full schedule

    of festivals and celebrations throughout the year. Excellent medical services are available

    through the Mason District Hospital, the Mason County Health Department, two modern nursing

    homes, and a variety of clinics, doctors, and other medical professionals. Many recreational

    opportunities are provided through the county's four park districts, two golf courses, and

    numerous areas for hunting, fishing and camping. Mason County has a rich historical heritage

    which is to a la

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