The City of Bushnell in partnership with the University of Illinois Extension staff will be piloting a new program for rural communities. The program entitled “SIMply Report: A Measurement and Planning Initiate for Rural Communities,” will include a community-wide Survey, key informant Interviews, and a community perception Meeting. The results of the three SIM components will be compiled, along with secondary data, to give a snapshot of where the community stands in its perception and reality across many community sectors. The final report will also include some recommendations on programs and initiatives the city can undertake to move forward on sectors deemed less than satisfactory.
The program, developed with a multi-state grant from the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development, looks at a cross-section of economic and health issues as well as how community members perceive them. According to Carrie McKillip, University of Illinois Extension educator, the concept came from the recognition that many people choose to live in rural communities. “We always see a list of the best cities to live with a wide array of amenities listed. We wanted to look at rural communities with the same kind of lens, that there are many desirable components of rural life. Open spaces, short commutes and family connections are just a few that come to mind,” McKillip said. She went on to say that Bushnell was a perfect location to pilot the process, due to its distance from a larger community and a diverse economic base.
The community survey will be available in both electronic and paper formats, beginning Friday, February 14th, 2020. The mobile or computer-friendly version can be accessed online, and the paper version can be picked up and dropped off at either the Bushnell Utility Office or City Hall. Paper versions of the survey will also be available at select locations throughout town.
All Bushnell residents and businesses are invited to attend a community-wide meeting on March 25, 2020, at 6 p.m. The meeting will be at the Bushnell Recreational and Cultural Center at 300 Miller Street, Bushnell.