Monday, February 25, 2013

Logan County Joins the Regional Economic Development District

The Economic Development Administration (EDA) has approved a boundary modification to include Logan County in the local Economic Development District (EDD). This week the Logan County Board of the whole accepted the modification as well. The regional Economic Development District now includes Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Mason and Logan Counties.

An EDD is a regional economy comprised of counties with similar demographics, industries and assets that works to align strategic goals to further the economic environment of the region. An EDD is designated by the EDA, a part of the federal government. There are only 13 EDD’s in the state of Illinois and not all counties are included in a district. The Economic Development Council for Central Illinois (EDC) administers the EDD locally. EDC’s Cal MacKay says this is a very special designation. "This expansion adds strength to our district and enhances our ability to compete for more federal funding. This expansion is proof that our district is doing good work. I see many similarities between the current counties in the district and Logan County. I think we will all work very well together and in the end we’ll make each other stronger."

Logan County representatives agree this modification is good for everyone involved. Brian Bergen, Executive Director of Lincoln and Logan County Development Partnership, says "We believe that by joining the EDD, we will be able to share new ideas and resources to help move the entire region forward. Logan County’s demographic composition will also help the district become more competitive when it comes to obtaining additional federal dollars that can be shared throughout the region."

One responsibility of an EDD is to produce a multi-year Community Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). Roy Bockler, chairman of the regional CEDS committee, says this expansion is an important component to our regional growth. "CEDS is a five year strategy that helps us prioritize the needs and wants of the region. We set priorities for all counties included in the district and then submit the priority projects and programs for federal funding. Having Logan County a part of that process enables us to go after a larger piece of the funding pie which will help bring our regional projects to fruition."

Logan County and the EDC began discussions on a potential boundary modification more than two years ago. Bill Martin says Logan County saw great potential in the local EDD. "We have a lot of commonality with the other 4 counties in the district with agriculture, workforce and infrastructure."

The EDC and all of its partners welcome Logan County into the EDD and look forward to working as a regional group.

To speak with Logan County representatives contact Brian Bergen at brian@lincolnlogan.com. For other information please contact Renee Charles at 495-5905, 229-7791 or e-mail rcharles@h-p.org.

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