GENESEO—The Henry County?Economic Development Partnership (HCEDP) had its third quarterly mayors and village presidents’ meeting on?Jan. 29 with representatives from all of the county’s communities meeting to discuss economic development strategy and common issues, needs and goals. I feel it is time to share with the public some of our progress and the information discussed.


The Henry County?Economic Development Partnership (HCEDP) had its third quarterly mayors and village presidents’ meeting on?Jan. 29 with representatives from all of the county’s communities meeting to discuss economic development strategy and common issues, needs and goals. I feel it is time to share with the public some of our progress and the information discussed.

There has been an excellent dialog regarding the requests of submitted stimulus-package projects that our Bi-State Regional?Commission staff is helping coordinate. There has also been discussion with our county board attendees regarding the county’s needs.

Colona, our host community for the event, did a wonderful job of finding sponsors for the meal at Lavender Crest Winery?(a sponsor) so that those attending could bring and share their concerns at no cost to them. Earlier events held in Atkinson last June and Annawan in October also were sponsored by local businesses and thus free for the elected representatives to attend.

At each of the meetings, we have listened to our communities’ concerns, moved ahead with suggestions and provided an open forum for everyone to have time to share issues.

Representation from Bi-State Regional Commission and the?Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity as well as both state and federal elected officials’ offices has combined for a great sounding board for ideas and dialog. The dialog itself was one of the concerns voiced last June.

The partnership board has recently rolled out a program to become totally self-sufficient so that a full-time economic development director can be available for all communities to utilize. Concerns about funding from the state, which have been canceled once but reinstated, were the primary reason to seek other avenues for support.

At this time, it appears our existing working relationship with the University of Illinois Extension Program’s County Board Match funding program will come to an end as of June 30.

We are fortunate to have the opportunity to work with them as we begin moving forward as a county in this very important cause, but we are thinking of the continued needs of the county as well.

Given the support of almost all communities, we feel positive about the mayors and village presidents’ forums and that they should continue on a quarterly basis.

All of the communities are welcome and their involvement will benefit each of us — the result of adding all of the communities’ efforts can be greater than the sum of the whole.

The pro-active stance with these community meetings has resulted in HCEDP being invited to speak with our neighbors in Mercer County, and we will do so later this month.

I wanted to share this positive activity promoted by the HCEDP in our current time of uncertainty and financial stress. 

We are excited to think of what we can do together regionally because: Together We Are Henry County.

Tim Wells, Geneseo, HCEDP?Vice Chair