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A Publication of WTVP

One of Mayor Dave Ransburg’s goals is to complete the initial planning and implementation steps for Greater Peoria Vision 20/20 later this summer. The four task forces created to build the implementation plans are: Neighborhoods & City Services; Recreation, Culture, Arts & Tourism; Youth, Education & Learning; and Economic Development and Transportation (EDT). 

The EDT Committee consists of: Rob Baer, Chris Glynn, Sandy Moldovan, Solomon Balraj, Joe Henderson, Ron Mool, Tom Brimberry, Larry Ivory, Tim Newlin, Peter Johnsen, Diane Oberhelman, Scott Cisel, Terry Kohlbuss, Jeff Owens, Ralph Converse, Rita Kress, Dave Ransburg, Dan Daly, Rich Lavin, Dave Tebben, Chuck Dobbelaire, Ray Lees, Kim Uhlig, David Dobson, Dick Lister, Larry Weinzimmer, John Elias, Jim McConoughey, and myself. 

Our objective is to define the key industries and economic activities that will be the drivers for future economic development for Peoria and the region. 

One very helpful item done to assist us in our task is visiting other cities around the country. The purpose of these visits is to meet with community, business, and political leaders to learn how they transformed their cities’ economies and cultures to compete in the 21st century. Cities we’ve visited, or plan to visit, include Chicago, Indianapolis, Louisville, Madison, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, and Austin. One critical point we’ve clearly learned from those visits is that, in each case, the city had reached a point of decline and desperation that threatened its future, stressing the need for immediate change—status quo was no longer a viable option. 

In each case, it was the business leaders who stepped up and led the change. For example, in the City of Louisville, the Greater Louisville, Inc., (a combination of our Peoria Civic Federation and Heartland Partnership), took the lead. In Chicago, it was the Civic Club (similar to our Peoria Civic Federation). Each city went through years of planning and development, identifying key drivers and appropriate implementation steps to achieve their united vision. Louisville’s leaders emphasized they’re in the seventh year of a 15-year plan. They constantly review and update their plan and consistently communicate the direction their city is heading. It was very impressive hearing business and governmental leaders enthusiastically promoting the same vision for their city. It’s a standard we must achieve here. There are numerous other examples of lessons learned. 

While Mayor Ransburg has been criticized for his commitment to planning, those of us in business understand planning is necessary to set the framework for the future. The city visits have further reinforced the mayor’s commitment. 

In the next couple of months, the EDT task force will begin to formulate its ideas and plans with corresponding implementation steps and timetables for results. If anyone has comments and ideas, please feel free to share them with anyone on the committee so we can include them on our list and evaluate their merit. We’ll have action steps ready for implementation in fall 2003. 

Our committee understands vision without action is hallucination. IBI

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