1. Published

    I’ve noticed that many of our rural Illinois communities have a vacant or derelict building in the heart of their downtown or on main street. While the missed opportunities of a property sitting vacant seem basic, the concept is complicated. Intent, code, statute, and insurance classification may be used to determine whether a real property is classified as vacant, unoccupied, abandoned or derelict. Despite the definition, this category of properties can overshadow neighborhoods, business districts, and communities large and small. 

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    In Illinois, we’re familiar with the phrase “A winter weather advisory is in effect for your region.” Snow has blanketed the state from north to south and more snow is predicted.

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    Many rural areas in the U.S. Midwest have been experiencing net population losses for years, raising concerns about the survival of these communities.
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    The Opportunity Zones incentive is a new community investment tool established by Congress in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to encourage long-term investments in low-income urban and rural communities nationwide. Opportunity Zones provide a tax incentive for investors to re-invest their unrealized capital gains into dedicated Opportunity Funds.

  5. Published
    Many voices, one vision

    The USDA Rural Economic Development Innovation (REDI) Initiative planning process started with a two-day countywide community-building event, held at The Nature Conservancy Office at Emiquon, on January 22 and 23, 2020.

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    The massive mid-February 2021 winter storm brought dangerous cold, snow and ice to a large portion of the country. The effects were felt from southeast Texas to northern Ohio as the storm lifted from the Gulf Coast to the Ohio Valley.

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    In the fall of 2019, the communities of Canton and Havana were hit with the shocking news that Vistra Corp. planned closing the local coal-fired power plants within three months. Community leaders were left to navigate the detrimental impacts to their tax base and workforce and they turned to each other to share ideas and resources.

  8. Published

    In an August 2020 article, Johns Hopkins Medicine addressed coronavirus fatigue, or “burnout”, as a concern as the pandemic wears on.

    The last nine months have been filled with ups and downs. Schools have transitioned from in-class learning to remote education; some schools are offering both to students and families.

  9. Published

    Morton Economic Development Council and Morton Chamber of Commerce identified “the advancement of its economic development efforts” and the “creation of a livable community for all” as key priorities, and subsequently engaged with University of Illinois Extension and UIUC Department of Urban and Regional Planning in an app

  10. Published

    Streator is a forward thinking city. Successful incubation programs operate like the businesses they help launch, whether they’re located in rural areas or more urban areas. When budgets are tight, best practice programs identify efficiencies to conserve scarce resources. But they also develop new programs and implement innovation ideas that can bring additional revenue.

  11. Published

    Local eateries, restaurants, cafes, pubs, and coffee shops are the social and economic lifeblood of many Illinois communities.

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    You have worked hard to stay in business and prepare to reopen during this pandemic. Now, you are challenged with the fact that many customers are nervous about returning to their favorite restaurants and retail stores.

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    Support for climate action, and renewable energy in particular, seem to be on the rise in Illinois and around the country. A recent survey of Illinois residents found that 82% support proposed legislation (HB3642) that will put the state on a path to 100% renewable energy by 2050 and create thousands of related jobs for Illinois residents. The poll, conducted by the Global Strategy Group and released by the Illinois Clean Energy Jobs Coalition, was conducted May 18-21, 2020.

  15. Published

    Illinois Extension Community and Economic Development Specialists Zach Kennedy and Susan Odum were interviewed about the 2020 Census on WOC 1420 radio. They shared an overview of Census 2020 as well as discussing why participation is so important.

    Listen to the interview here: All About the Census

  16. Published

    Community leaders across Illinois are working hard to adapt to and overcome challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new survey conducted by University of Illinois Extension. Town, city, and county leaders across the state are concerned about the health of residents and economic impact on local businesses, employers, and local governments.

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    The 2020 Census

    This blog post is the first in a series that will highlight the U.S. Census 2020. Participating in the U.S. Census is critically important for several reasons that will be addressed in this series. Key things to remember regarding the Census include:

  19. Published

    In the last few months, there is a good chance you might have seen someone wearing a t-shirt with the phrase “farmers are my kinda people.” This is one of the latest designs from Rendleman Orchards of Alto Pass. Their locally-grown-and-farm-themed t-shirts are popular, but their latest trademarked design has taken the country by storm. In just under 90 days, the shirt has been shipped to 49 states. 

  20. Published

    The Scaling Up Restaurant Operations: Safety Considerations webinar held on June 2, 2020 is now available in archive format.