Congratulations to the 40 Leaders Under Forty Class of 2010! I am always excited to learn about the professional and personal accomplishments of this newest generation of leaders in our community, and I commend this year’s recipients on their latest achievement. It is leaders like those recognized in this issue—as well as the ones who have gone before and those who will follow—that keep Peoria County on the map. These men and women have typically started their careers here and are raising their families here. Their ability to lead by example and influence others strengthens our community by attracting new business, new residents and more visitors to the region. Without growth, Peoria County would not succeed.
To complement the continued efforts of our leaders, Peoria County is embarking on a video tour of our community to showcase the uniqueness of central Illinois to outsiders looking for new opportunities. The tour is offered free of charge to select counties through the National Association of Counties and consists of 10 individual chapters that feature specific aspects of the community. We elected to highlight educational, recreational, business and real estate opportunities, as well as healthcare, arts and culture, transportation, and county services in our video series. The video tour reflects the high quality of life our community offers its residents, workers and visitors. It will be available for viewing at peoriacounty.org early next year.
Peoria County is committed to remaining economically competitive by retaining the young leaders who are building their lives here and bringing new people and new business to our region. The video tour is just one new initiative we are undertaking to enhance our efforts in economic development, employee recruitment and population growth. The County Board is also investigating the benefits of hiring an internal economic development director to augment the county’s ongoing partnership with the Economic Development Council.
These efforts, in addition to the County’s low-interest Government Assistance Loan Program for business owners and entrepreneurs, are intended to strengthen our community by growing the county. Unfortunately, we have all seen—if not experienced firsthand—the decline of communities when manufacturing weakens and businesses close or relocate. To ensure a similar fate does not occur here, the County Board has pledged to “grow the county” as one of its four strategic goals.
We will continue to support local business and promote job retention and growth by offering low-interest financial assistance to business owners seeking to expand their businesses and entrepreneurs hoping to start their businesses here. We will also continue to work towards creating an Opportunity Center incubator for minority and small-business enterprises. The Board plans to make a decision regarding the creation of an internal economic development position by the end of this year. And we will enhance our efforts to promote our community to new residents, business owners and visitors alike with the addition of our online video tour. We already have the leadership in Peoria County; now we need to show the location, location, location that is Peoria County. iBi