The City of Peoria is looking for a few good developers to redevelop our historic core.

Jan 27, 2011

Please Release Governor Ryan

President Obama, please release former Governor Ryan to be with his wife.  I don't disagree with his punishment. I realize you will be criticized for your action. But I think it would be humane to let him be with her. They both are very nice people. 

Condition of Lura Ryan largely unchanged


An attorney for imprisoned ex-Gov. George Ryan says Ryan's wife remains hospitalized and her condition is largely unchanged since doctors admitted her in early January saying she may have only weeks to live.

Jan 24, 2011

Heartland Partnership eNewsletter

The Heartland Partnership eNewsletter
HP In The News 
Jan 24, 2011
This week's HP In The News includes previews regarding the Chamber's annual State of the City Address (to be held Jan 25) as well as response to the recently announced income tax increase.  Here are a few of the stories regarding The Heartland Partnership Family of Companies featured by our local media over the past couple of weeks. 

Mayor Jim Ardis and Peoria Area chamber of Commerce’s Sarah Stabler preview the 2011State of the City Address on 1470 WMBD’s Greg and Dan Show.

Does Peoria mayor have surprise in store?
"He's sort of made a tradition of announcing some new things, whether it's ... czar," said Roberta Parks, president of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce. ...

Chamber working on State of the School address
...has led the chamber to create a State of the School District speech. Lathan is expected to provide the address.

Area Business Leaders Not Happy with Tax Hike 
Heartland Partnership President and CEO Jim McConoughey and the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce and Council members discuss the state's future in ...

Tax hike will hurt recruiting
Illinois was already struggling to compete because the cost of doing business was already high, said Roberta Parks, president of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce...

Local Leaders Call for More Tax Credits...
It's a recurrence of some recent Springfield rhetoric, and it's leaving both political and economic leaders, like Heartland Partnership CEO Jim McConoughey, ...

The Live Healthy Central Illinois 100 Day Wellness Challenge is about to get underway. Between 50 and 60 area companies have signed up as teams of employees will work together to achieve fitness and weight loss goals.

WHOI's Good Company Highlights Heartland Partnership and Peoria NEXT
Excellence from EcoThermics.  It's technology that is easier on the wallet - and the environment. And, it's development is based right here in the Heart of Illinois.

Mayor Jim Ardis gives us a sneak peak at his State of the City Address hosted by the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce and he shares his views on how the economy is rebounding.  

Silver Flying Fish

Asian Carp
Lets have no more talk of Asian Carp. That name is no good.

What we have is the excellent tasting

Free Range Silver Flying Fish of Peoria

Read in the Peoria Journal Star

Jan 21, 2011

Hiring a City Manager

William Baldridge, municipal executive search and former city manager of Royal Oak, discusses how to hire a city manager, teamwork and leadership.

Hiring a new manager is one of the most important things a City Council will do. 

Patrick Urich - City Manager

The City of Peoria and County Administrator Patrick Urich are discussing the possibility of Urich becoming the Peoria City Manager. My wife and I have both been in local government work as city managers, planners, and consultants for over 35 years. Urich is one of the best managers we know, and an excellent fit for the City. 

He did a great job at the County, and would do a great job for the city. He would hit the ground running since he knows the city, lives in the Heart of Peoria and understands the needs of the City. Here is hoping then can reach an agreement.

There has been some discussion about hiring a local guy without city management experience. It would be far better to hire a local guy who has extensive public management experience. It is a difficult job.

Click to Read more:

Unemployment Rate Improves

After two tough years employment in Peoria is now growing. Not fast enough but at least it is now in the right direction.

Jan 20, 2011

Arts Partners is Doing A Great Job

ArtsPartners of Central Illinois, Inc.
820 SW Adams St. Peoria, IL 61602
p. 309.676.2787 f. 309.676.0290

Jan 18, 2011

Excelerate Newsletter

Excelerate e-Newsletter Week 1-17-11

Excelerate Enews
Jim McConoughey
Jim McConoughey
The Heartland Partnership

The Heartland Partnership Family of Companies

Peoria Metro

Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce

Peoria NEXT

Heart of Illinois Regional Port District (TransPORT)

Heartland Capital Network

Heartland Foundation/CEO Roundtable

The Initiatives:




The following companies have made an investment to the Excelerate Campaign:

AMP Illinois
Apples Bakery
Barrington Broadcasting
Better Banks
Bradley University
Busey Bank
Central IL Bank
Central IL Business Publishers
Commerce Bank
Community Foundation of Central IL
Converse Marketing
Core Construction
Cullinan Properties
Devonshire Group
Eureka College
Farmers Insurance
Farnsworth Group
Federal Companies
G & D Integrated
Greater Peoria Mass Transit
Heartland Bank & Trust
Heart Technologies
Heritage Bank
Illinois American Water
Illinois Central College
Jim Maloof Realtor
JMP Radio Group
Kriegsman Warehouses
LZT Associates, Inc.
Methodist Medical Center
Nexstar Broadcasting WMBD/WYZZ
Otto Baum
Pekin Insurance
Peoria Area Association of Realtors
Peoria Disposal Company
Peoria Journal Star
PSA Dewberry
Regent Communications
River City Construction
Riverfront Village Developers
RSM McGladrey INC.
South Side Bank
Traders Realty
Wisdom Development Group
Video Update
The Heartland Partnership Video Update is a 3 minute video summary overviewing this Excelerate Newsletter.  This week's video includes snippets of interviews regarding the Illinois state income tax increase, the hiring outlook for 2011 and a look at what the chairman of TransPORT has to say about the organization's accomplishments and future,
Click icon to watch the video update and view the rest of the newsletter for full details. 

New Illinois Tax Credits
According to the Associated Press, Governor Pat Quinn has signed legislation providing a $2,500 tax credit to employers hiring trainees from the Put Illinois to Work temporary jobs program.  The measure signed Monday takes effect immediately.
We recommend the state develop multiple programs like this, including involvement from the business community on what programs will help to offset the income tax.

Income Tax Increase & What You Can Do About It
Illinois is making national headlines, and not in a good way.  The 66% state income tax increase is making waves around the country.  We talked with Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce President Roberta Parks about what this means for businesses and individuals in Illinois and what residents need to do to make a difference. 

Income Tax Increase Affects State Ranking
The "Tax Foundation" says the state income tax increase has caused Illinois to drastically drop on the "State Climate Index" report.  EDC President Vickie Clark explains that Illinois now has one of the five highest state corporate income taxes in the nation and this tax increase has caused Illinois to fall 13 spots on the State Business Tax Climate Index.  Click here to read the Tax Foundation report.

2011 Economic Forecast - Hiring
A large majority of people say when hiring returns to the region it will be a sure sign that the recession is over.  We sat down with Heartland Partnership President/CEO Jim McConoughey to get his forecast on hiring for 2011 in the Peoria Area and to find out what’s in store for the region’s top growth industries.

10 Ways Your Job Will Change
Who knows what jobs will be born a decade from now? Though unemployment is at a 25-year high, work will return eventually.  But it is not going to look the same.  Click here to learn the 10 ways your job will change according to Time Magazine.

Chairmen Interviews
Dan Silverthorn has been chairman of TrasnPORT since its inception in 2006.  Dan says predictions are that highway cargo traffic will increase 20% in the next 10-15 years and our roads won’t be able to absorb that increase so we should look to the waterways.  The bottom line for TransPORT is to create jobs and business opportunities for a river related transportation market and improve the port businesses that are already here.
Click here to watch video with Dan Silverthorn

Mood-O-Meter Results
Out of nearly 100 participants, 41% believe the recession is over.  When asked if there would be a double dip to this recession 63% said no. To find out what Mood-O-Meter participants said they needed to see to believe the recession is over click here.
Another recent Mood-O-Meter revealed the majority of respondents say they will pronounce 2011 as "Two Thousand Eleven"  and the most popular new year's resolution is to get health followed by improving financial health.
To see what people said click here.
Check our website for new Mood-O-Meter topics regularly. 

State of the City 2011
Time is running out to make reservations for the 2011 State of the City Address, sponsored by PSA Dewberry.  The event is Tuesday, January 25th at the Peoria Civic Center at 11:45 AM.  Join us to find out what is on the horizon for the city of Peoria.  Reservations deadline is January 14. 
Click here for reservations

Project Pack the Place Expands in 2011
We had great success in 2010 so we are expanding Project Pack the Place this year.  There will be events for groups & individuals this year plus we're adding more venues & even restaurants to the list of places to pack in 2011.
Stay tuned to find out how you can help boost our regional economy and have great fun while doing so. 
Sponsorship opportunities are available for Project Pack the Place call Renee at 495-5905 or for details.

Marketing U
Marketing is a key element to the success of any business.  Whether you’re a marketing guru or just a beginner, knowing how to utilize a variety of marketing tools will benefit your business.  Starting in January, the Peoria Area Chamber is offering a series of educational classes to help local businesses navigate the world of marketing.  
Click here for details

Jan 14, 2011

Government Incentives

These comments are excerpted from a discussion I am having with C.J. Summers, a very smart young man who is a candidate for the Peoria City Council. His blog is well thought out, and I encourage you to read it.


Discussing incentives with Craig Hullinger

Craig Hullinger has written a blog post about the necessity of providing incentives to rebuild a city’s downtown/older neighborhoods. Hullinger used to be the Economic Development Director for the City of Peoria until he retired in 2009. Since that time, the City has not hired a replacement; instead, Economic Development personnel report directly to the City Manager du jour. Hullinger is a very nice guy and has said some kind things about my blog; nevertheless, we have some disagreements on economic development theory.
“If an older city does not lead the redevelopment of its older central city, it will continue to decline,” Hullinger says. “[A] decision not to incent redevelopment is a decision to give up on your older areas…. [I]ncentives are required to rebuild downtown. Developers go where they are certain they can develop and get a great return. Redevelopment is much more costly and high risk then greenfield development. We have to equalize these costs through incentives if we want private sector renewal.”
What’s missing from this argument? It doesn’t specify what he means by “incentives.” An incentive is “any factor (financial or non-financial) that enables or motivates a particular course of action, or counts as a reason for preferring one choice to the alternatives.” If this is what we mean by “incentives,” then Hullinger and I do not disagree. I believe cities do need to invest in their older neighborhoods and to incentivize redevelopment where necessary.
The point of disagreement is over the kind of investments and incentives that should be made.
Let’s look at a specific example of the kind of incentives to which I object. Hullinger talks about equalizing costs of redevelopment with greenfield development. One of the tools to accomplish this is something called an “enterprise zone.” Its very purpose is to help cities revitalize their older central cities by providing sales tax breaks on building materials or a partial property tax abatement. The City of Peoria’s enterprise zone looks like this:
Notice where these incentives are predominantly going? Along the riverfront, and far north Peoria. Question: When the same incentives are given to greenfield sites as the central city, what effectiveness do they have? Answer: None. If anyone in the city can receive Enterprise Zone status, it’s no longer an incentive to locate in the central city. It loses all effectiveness, and becomes nothing more than developer welfare — a perk for the well-connected, like Firefly Energy, which you can see received EZ status on the map above (the thin red line that snakes down Detweiller Drive and Route 29 to the old Foster and Gallagher site). EZ status was even used as an annexation tool to keep a pizza place from moving out of the City — a pizza place that had already received an incentive from the City in the form of a business development loan.
When you eviscerate your economic development tools like this, it leads to an arms-race for more extravagant incentives to draw people to the central city. And that needlessly costs the taxpayers more money. We need to maximize the effectiveness of our economic development tools, and that means (among other things) using them where they’re needed, and not using them where they’re not needed.
And under no circumstances should we give a $9 million fee to a private developer to build a private hotel for his private profit. That’s not economic development. It’s pure, unadulterated developer welfare — welfare we can’t afford.
Craig replies
Excellent posts by you and many of your readers, CJ

Government incentives for business development is always controversial. Let me respond to some of your points.

Many older cities and regions around the country use Enterprise Zones. There are large number of incentives bundled into the Zones to try to incent development or redevelopment in the zones.

The original intent of the zones was to try to attract redevelopment back into poor areas. When you look at the Peoria map you see that a large part of the zone is in the poor south end of the city.

But around the State enterprise zones were quickly expanded to include industrial areas and some commercial areas that are not blighted, as you can see from the Peoria map. This was an effort to compete with other areas and States for economic development.

The incentives in the Enterprise Zone are not that great. The two big incentives are sales tax for building material for new or improved facilities.  The sales tax is mostly paid to the State of Illinois, the City and a little to the County. So these three governments are willing to forgo the sales tax on building material for a new facility that will produce jobs and property tax for many years. Pretty good trade off, I would say. And so would most people, I think, especially with our high unemployment.

The other large incentive is 5 years of property tax abatement for primarily for industrial development – not commercial.  And School District 150 and the Dunlap School District do not participate – each government decides whether it wants to participate or not. So the other governments did decide to participate – and I think for pretty logical reasons. They give up 5 years of the new property tax for new industrial developments that generate jobs and permanent tax base.

Pretty good deal, I would say.

Now lets consider a typical meeting with developers that occur frequently (we hope). A developer approaches the EDC or City and says we have a company that wants to open a facility in the Midwest. We are looking at Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa. We will invest $5,000,000 and will create 60 jobs.  Your area looks good. We are checking out incentives.

We know that they will get a good incentive package from communities in the other states and around Illinois.

We discuss our incentive package and tell them we will work with them and the State on State incentives. We sell our town as hard as we can.

The developer will typically sum up all his findings on a spread sheet, and figure out the best place to build.

So we are in competition with numerous other communities. You can decide to compete or not.

I say compete.

Jan 13, 2011

Patrick Urich Peoria County Administrator

Patrick Urich is leaving his job as the Peoria County Administrator

He did an outstanding job at Peoria County,

and would be the best possible choice for 

the City of Peoria. With the trust of both the 

County Board and City Council he may be 

able to coordinate efforts to improve 

services and save money.

Taking a new job as a City Manager has become very difficult. Because of the open political process, news that a City Manager is interviewing with another city often become public knowledge.
Patrick may be establishing the new way for city managers to transition - they give notice and leave their current position before seeking a new job. A bit expensive and risky for many managers, however.

"I am eternally grateful for the Peoria County Board and staff and elected officials for working with them for 10 great years," Urich said. "Its been a fantastic opportunity, the best of my career and I think it's at a point where I'm ready to pursue opportunities as they arise."
Urich said he has "nothing lined up right now," adding that it is too premature to say whether he is interested in the manager's job with the city of Peoria."

Read the rest of the story at:

Jan 12, 2011

What is Playing in Peoria

isted below are just a few of the great arts events taking place in the Peoria area this weekend.
For a more complete list of arts activities, we invite you to visit our events calendar at
You can also find our What’s Playing in Peoria flyer on our Facebook page:

ArtsPartners of Central Illinois, Inc.
820 SW Adams St. Peoria, IL 61602
p. 309.676.2787 f. 309.676.0290

Illinois GIS Association

Welcome 2011
A New Year, A New Chance to Participate!
I love the start of a new year.  A new Calendar, new dates to record, events to look forward to and most of all, a new chance to participate in opportunities both professional and for personal development.
ILGISA is THE Association for GIS Professionals within Illinois, and as such, education, networking and professional development are key elements membership.  We invite you to review the upcoming events planned for this New Year and to participate as a Member, Exhibitor, Student Member, Conference Presenter and as a Volunteer!
So with the start of this New Year, and as membership renewals take place, look to make a resolution to get involved.  To share your expertise.  To share your professional success and failures (they teach us the most as we have time to reflect and "what if" the situation all over!).  Participate in a committee.  Engage a new member.  Help determine the direction that your professional association takes in the coming decade!
Key dates to mark for your Participation & Engagement
April 19-20, 2011
R U Prepared? Disaster & GIS
October 19-20, 2011
Fall Conference, NIU Naperville Campus, Naperville Illinois

Interested in Contributing? 
The Spring 2011 Conference Committee is soliciting Workshops (1/2 day or full-day), Paper Presentations (30-90 minutes) and Posters for the upcoming conference.  NEW THIS YEAR!
The Spring Conference will consist of Workshops and Presentations on BOTH DAYS OF THE CONFERENCE...
to that end, all Submissions MUST be Received by February that all attendee's know what each is scheduled for each day of the conference.
Additionally, look for other exciting changes, including an invitation only breakfast for Managers, a HazMat Display of Vehicles in conjunction with the Disaster theme of the event, a key note presentation by Susan Elizabeth Hough, and the annual student award presentations.

Commercial, Governmental, NFP, Educational
The 2011 Spring Conference Committee Invite you to participate as an
Exhibitor or Sponsor of April 19-20, 2011 Conference.
R U Ready?
For Disaster?  GIS and Disaster...Planning, Serving, Responding
This unique 2 day event will bring together over 30 exhibitors and over 400 GIS practioners of GIS within and around Illinois.  Application to Exhibit, at a discounted rate, is only available until February 1, 2011 via mail (see attached registration packet)  After that time exhibit registration goes "live" and fees will increase.  Questions? Contact me!

The ILGISA Honor's Committee is seeking nominations for recipients of the 2011 Student Awards.  Presented to an undergraduate student of any major who has included GIS in their course of study, and has demonstrated exemplary proficiency and understanding of GIS, potential contribution to the GIS Community, and general success in school.Nominations are due by March 24, 2011.
Student Participation Wanted!
Did you know that ILGISA is actively involved in recruiting and working with university/college students interested in GIS?  We encourage all students to consider submitting a 20 minute presentation or poster for review at the upcoming ILGISA Spring Conference, April 19-20, 2011.  This is a unique way for students to participate, earn GISP credit, gain experience presenting, opportunities for networking, and for them to learn something new.  IF you are involved with students, please forward this information on to them and encourage them to participate!
Student volunteers are needed for the upcoming Spring Conference.  Information on duties and application directions are provided on the ILGISA website.  Student volunteers must be at least a part-time student and in good standing.  Access to both conference days will be complimentary for those individuals who volunteer.  Get involved!

2011 Membership
If you wish to join ILGISA, please visit the website where you can establish your new account with the association and pay your membership dues of $50.00 electronically.  If you wish to receive an invoice, please contact the Executive Director with your email address in order to update and distribute this to you.  Please remember that all membership dues must be paid in full by March 31, 2011 in order to be eligible for discounted conference registration rates for both the Spring and Fall Conferences
Tracy L. Rogers    
Executive Director
Illinois GIS Association
Northern Illinois University
1120 East Diehl Road
Naperville, IL  60563
Phone: 815-753-2090
Fax:  815-753-8989