Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy
(CEDS) has four broad goals, the first of which is to "Act Regional." "Acting regional" might sound like a strange goal for an economic development organization, but I can tell you that it is a vital ingredient in success. Sure, each community wants jobs within their borders - when I worked for the City of Peoria, it was my job to keep, get and grow jobs within the city limits. But even as a municipal employee, I recognized the importance of having good companies with great jobs in Pekin or Havana or Metamora. That is because the citizens of my city didn't think twice about crossing a municipal boundary to go to work. Do you know that when Mitsubishi closed its doors, some 30+ miles away from the heart of our region's population, that 50% of its workforce lived in Greater Peoria? We don't think of the closing of Mitsubishi as a loss, or the purchase of that facility by
as a win, but both are as true for Greater Peoria as they are for Bloomington-Normal.
If you want to see a visual representation of the porous nature of these boundaries when it comes to work, click
to check out this visualization created by Mark Evans. Mark used commuting data gathered by the American Community Survey to plot where people live and where they work. The link I have shared is set up to show you where people who live in Tazewell County go to work (limited to a 60 mile commute). Want to see where people who work in Peoria actually live? Click
. (Feel free to play around with Mark's website - some of the visualizations are fascinating, and a bit mesmerizing.)
The point is this: We all need to cheer for the Greater Peoria
team. That means pulling together to make sure that every company or business idea, no matter the city or county, is supported and encouraged in its growth. That also means we all cooperate to attract business to the region and celebrate when we have those successes. I am so pleased to see the tremendous level of regional cooperation. I see it every day in working with our city and county economic development staffs, the GPEDC board of directors and all of our committees. The strength of this region is our team approach. Thanks for being a part of that team.