Tri-County approves using economic development expert

Submitted by Alex Rusciano on Fri, 12/02/2011 – 12:18am

The Tri-County Regional Planning Commission voted to bring-in an outside development expert from Maryland next month. Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports its part of Tri-County’s effort to facilitate the next economic development strategy for the area:

The Commission unanimously approved a contract to use Frank Knott of Vital Economy. The move comes weeks after area elected-officials wanted to see Tri-County play a central role in facilitating the next economic development plan. That current plan is a product of the Economic Development Council for Central Illinois. Terry Kohlbuss is the executive director of the planning commission. He says officials in the region say they’re ready for a change:

“There’s an excitement, a nervous energy about identifying the structural changes and process changes that will allow us to take that next big step in beginning to grow the region,” Kohlbuss says.

“From a population perspective, from a prosperity perspective…and spreading that prosperity across more of the population so that we can be a more vibrant, globally-competitive region.”

Kohlbuss says officials with both Tri-County and the EDC will craft a scope of work for Knott before he arrives next month. Officials say Knott will research the local business climate then interview stakeholders as he crafts recommendations for the region.