Wind powers ArcelorMittal Steel Mill in Gary

November 27th, 2008
(Merrillville) Post-Tribune
By Gitte Laasby, Post-Tribune staff writer glaasby@post-trib.com GARY - For the past year, 220 workers at ArcelorMittal's plate mill in Gary have been the best-kept secret in Northwest Indiana. To them, "green jobs" is more than a catch phrase in a presidential election campaign. It's food on the table every day. Nearly a year ago to the day, the workers rolled their first slab of plate steel at the Gary mill formerly owned by U.S. Steel. ArcelorMittal spent $35 million to revamp and reopen the plant, allowing the company to meet increasing demand from the energy market. Much of the steel is used for windmills, and demand is growing.

Read more: http://www2.chicagosouthlandedc.org/2008/11/27/wind-powers-arcelormittal-steel-mill-in-gary/

Article courtesy of Reggie Greenwood, Director of Chicago Southland Economic Development Corporation.


Happy Thanksgiving


Property for sale in the Warehouse District

It is a tough time to sell a home, but a good time to buy one. The Federal Government has passed a tax credit program for a first time homebuyer. It only lasts for a limited time, so look it over carefully to see if it can help you buy that first home.

The City also has some programs to help low and moderate income people buy homes. Call the City Planning Department for more information. Call 309 494 8600 for more information.


You call that a River, Chicago?

Chicago is Green with Envy when comparing the Chicago River with the Illinois River in Peoria.

Written by a recovering Chicagoan. I still love her but I left her.

More Photos Below:



Renaissance Park

Rivers Edge Redevelopment Iniative http://riverssedgeredevelopmentiniative.blogspot.com/

River Trail Drive

LIFE's Photo Archive

Ten million images in total will soon be available on a new hosted image service from Google, Time Inc. has announced. Ninety-seven percent of the photographs have never been seen by the public.

These images can be found when conducting a search on Google.com or on Google Image Search. Users can also search through the LIFE Collection directly by visiting





Tax Increment Financing District (TIF)
Business Development District (BDD)

The City Council of Peoria adopted the Hospitality Improvement Zone (HIZ) Tax Increment Financing District (TIF) on October 28, 2008. The City Council adopted the Business Development District (BDD) on November 11, 2008. Both of these districts will last for 23 years. The map above shows the BDD. The TIF is slightly larger, omitting the Civic Center property south of Monroe.

The City of Peoria is making a concerted effort to assist downtown hotels and other businesses to improve. The City has a great downtown and Civic Center, but more and improved hotel rooms are needed to support larger conferences and conventions.
The City has created a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District and a Business Development District (BDD). The TIF will capture new property taxes generated by improvements to the hotels, and put some of the increased property taxes back to the hotels to help pay for the improvements. The BDD permits an up to 1% Sales and an up to 1% Hotel tax to be established. The City would refund these tax revenues back to the hotels to help fund their improvements.

The City encourages all hotels to plan for improved facilities. A great first impression of the City is vital in securing new investment. Our downtown is beautiful, overlooking the Illinois River and wooded bluffs. Improved hotels, restaurants, and retail will help improve our image, and increase the number of people visiting our community.

More info at:

Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway

Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway
is Driving Forward

We have new road signs marking the scenic route along the Byway
and a brand new website to help you navigate the route!

Join us to celebrate the milestones that are putting this Byway on the map!
See the new signs and hear why this is important to our region.

Monday, November 24th 10am

Route 116 at Mariner’s Way, East Peoria, IL
Renee Charles
Director of Public Affairs and Media Relations
The Heartland Partnership
SW Water Street
Peoria, IL 61602

The Heartland Partnership is thrilled to share this news with you!

NBC Nightly News was in town last week to do a story on this region being a pocket of prosperity. The crew talked with Jim McConoughey about how and why this region is doing better than the rest of the country during this tough economic period. They talked about how our community businesses are diversified and many are now global in scope.

The crew also talked with Excel Foundry and Foremost Industrial Technologies about their current growth and success. This story is designed to show the rest of the country that our region is doing well and we are the spotlight of prosperity.

It sounds like the story will air Thursday night during the nightly news program at 5:30. The reporter who did the story says there is a 50% chance it may float due to heavier news of the day but we won’t know until Thursday. So, be sure to set the DVR’s or get home in time to see our story. We’ll update you if and when we receive more information.

This is great news for our region!!!

Renee Charles
Director of Public Affairs and Media Relations
The Heartland Partnership
100 SW Water Street
Peoria, IL 61602
c: 309-229-7791
f: 309-676-7534


The State of Illinois has launched “Workforce Outreach Days” to help people in North Central Illinois prepare for the job market, find new employment, and get their family through the economic slowdown.


Nice fall foliage photos, some of Peoria

Forty Leaders Under Forty

Our congratulations to the forty leaders under forty, chosen by Peoria Magazines.

Read all about it at:

Skybridges and Tunnels

The article below is a good synopsis of the arguments against not constructing sky bridges and tunnels in downtowns. New urbanists dislike bridges and tunnels interconnecting buildings, believing that it cuts down on street pedestrian traffic, harming retail and working against a vibrant downtown.


I agree with that assessment, but I also believe there are several logical exceptions where sky bridges and tunnels makes sense. And Peoria has those exceptions.

There are skybridges interconnecting buildings and parking decks of our three largest downtown Companies - Caterpillar, Methodist Hospital, and OSF Hospital. These skybridges interconnect buildings and parking under one ownership and control, in effect making the buildings larger. In each case forcing people to travel to the ground floor, leave the building, cross the street, and reenter the adjacent building and return to a higher floor would be inconvenient and inefficient. There would be no retail for the pedestrian to pass by, and a slight increase in the potential for auto / pedestrian conflict.

An existing or new hotel interconnected to the Civic Center would be another exception to this rule. Meeting planners much prefer a Conference or Convention Center to be physically connected to the conference center hotel. An interconnected hotel makes moving from the hotel to the Convention Center much more comfortable - no heavy coats, boots, or rain gear required. Most of our competitor hotels and conference / convention centers now have interconnected facilities.

Convention planners and companies have found out that when a move outside the building is required to travel to and from the hotel and conference center, meeting attendees often do not return, instead staying their hotel room. This reduces the value of the conference to exhibitors. Some conferences and conventions do not choose a city where a connected hotel is not available.


Methodist Hospital Progress on New Facilities

Methodist Hospital is making substantial progress on their new facilities. Read all about it at:

"As president, I have seen the transformative power of trade up close. I have visited the Caterpillar factory in East Peoria, Illinois, where thousands of good-paying American jobs are supported by exports." President Bush. Full story below:



NEXTsteps at the Innovation Center

Take networking to the next level.

NEXTsteps was designed to provide a forum for informal networking and information sharing between innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, and others interested in nurturing entrepreneurship in the Midwest. Typically, NEXTsteps features the presentation of three or more technology companies or technology concepts ready to be taken to the next level.

Connections to capital, partners and advisors, seasoned commercialization executives, and input from a diverse range of industry professionals … NEXTsteps might just be the connection to your next dynamic venture.

Date: November 18, 2008Time: 9:00 - 11:00 am (refreshments provided)Location:

Peoria NEXT Innovation Center 801 W MainPeoria, Illinois



Staffitnow is the “eHarmony” of the job Market with a mission of matching the right candidates to right opportunities, wherever they are. Our SaaS-based web application “matches” employers and job candidates, reaching across multiple career sites and using proprietary algorithms and AI to increase recruiter accuracy and decrease time-to-hire. Staffitnow’s initial focus is on the technology domain in the US with plans to expand horizontally (healthcare, accounting) & geographically (India, Canada, UK )

Intellihot Inc

Current tank water heaters in US homes run continuously and provide a limited amount of hot water. They are bulky, utilize less than 60% of gas energy burned and last only 7 years.

Intellihot has developed a state-of-the art demand water heater that uses conventional materials and advanced electronics. This green water heater extracts nearly 98% of energy, provides unlimited hot water, and will comfortably fit within a kitchen cabinet.

Coupled with Intellihot’s extremely low installation cost and 20-year life, this product will revolutionize the water heating market and establish Intellihot as the market leader.

Additional details and directions to the event can be found at:


You won’t want to miss this special opportunity!



RFP Issued For Former Caterpillar, Inc. Site in Mapleton, Ill.

The Heart of Illinois Regional Port District (branded as TransPORT and based at Peoria, Ill.) is issuing a Request for Proposals, seeking a private sector development partner for the adaptive re-use and development of an approximately 70-acre parcel in Mapleton, Ill., site of the original Caterpillar, Inc. Mapleton foundry.

Caterpillar is currently completing demolition of most of its foundry buildings on the site, leaving only floors and foundations of demolished buildings. Caterpillar will transfer title to the property to the Port District following demolition.

The Port District now seeks to designate a well- qualified, experienced developer to work with the District in maximizing the redevelopment potential of this unique parcel. The Port District’s vision for the property is to return it to productive use, with a view toward attracting incremental investment and job creation in the manufacturing, distribution and logistics sector.

Toward that end, Caterpillar will grant to the Port District easements over its property to permit the District to access the adjacent Illinois Waterway for purposes of designing and constructing a shallow-draft barge terminal facility. The Port District’s intention is that a common-user marine terminal will complement the types of industries and activities attracted to the Mapleton site.

The parcel is served by regional rail carrier, Toledo, Peoria & Western Railway, a unit of Rail America, which has neutral switching capability with the four Class I railroads serving the Peoria area. Mapleton is approximately six miles via the US 24 truck route from Interstate 474, which connects into Interstates 74, 55 and 155 serving a vast Heartland consumer and industrial market.

The Port District desires to work with developers in finding creative ways to finance the development. The District has authority to issue taxable and tax-exempt revenue bonds for capital projects associated with this parcel. Further, legislation is currently pending in the Illinois State Legislature to grant Peoria County the authority to create a Tax Increment Finance (TIF) district for this and surrounding properties.

To obtain a copy of the complete RFP, interested development firms are invited to contact Steve Jaeger, Executive Director, Heart of Illinois Regional Port District, 100 SW Water Street, Peoria, Ill. 61602. Telephone is 309-495-5918 (landline) and 309-258-0412 (wireless). Email address is sjaeger@h-p.org and fax is 309-258-5913.

Historic Landmarks

Interesting historic landmarks in Peoria on the page below:


Happy 233rd Marine Corps Birthday

The second annual Trot For Tots fun run will be conducted on the day after Thanksgiving. Please join us for this fun event, conducted just before the Santa Clause Parade. Muster at the Riverplex by 9:30 am. Teams are encouraged to run.

More info at:


The City of Peoria is making a major effort to "Green" our city. The articles below are examples of the efforts of other cities.

The Intenational City Managers Association (ICMA) is supporting "Green" efforts.

More info at:


The Library of Congress has drawings of a number of historic Peoria buildings. The homes above are on High Street.

and search for Peoria buildings

Historic aerial view map of Peoria.
More maps like this at:


Heart of Peoria Street Car Map below:



The following was written by the International Economic Development Council. It is their estimate of what the Presidential election may mean for economic development.

The Presidential Election Results:

Economic Development Implications and Priorities

Yesterday, Barack Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States. He will take the helm of government in turbulent economic times. We expect therefore that in the short term, the new Administration and the new Congress will and should focus their efforts on stabilizing the U.S. economy. However, while addressing these challenges, there are significant opportunities to stimulate growth and revitalize the economy. IEDC recognizes that many of our members will be fielding calls from the press, board members, and elected officials among others to try and understand what the implications of the election are for the economy, and what federal, state and local communities will need to do to address our economic challenges.

To help our members, we have put together below:

1) a snapshot of what we believe the election results may mean for economic development; and

2) the priority areas for government action that we believe will stimulate our economy.

This list of priorities also should help you respond to questions from your community leaders as to where we should be heading. Election Implications for Economic Development Policies An assessment of the policy positions presented during the election suggests that we might expect the Obama Administration to:

• Renew the role of government in economic development particularly in urban and metropolitan and rural areas of distress;

• Emphasize infrastructure restoration, including transportation reinvestment, calling for the creation of an infrastructure reinvestment bank, which will create jobs nationwide;

• Aggressively address climate change with a focus on the development of renewable energy, investing in manufacturing and job training programs for clean technologies; and

• Prioritize education, from early childhood initiatives through post-secondary tuition financing to entrepreneurship education to strengthen human capital and job creation.

Economic Development Policy Priorities

To engage the new Administration in economic development opportunities, IEDC has prepared a Federal Economic Development Agenda, which will be distributed over the next few weeks to urge the new Administration to target its attention to the priority areas below to stimulate the economy.

• Rebuild the nation’s infrastructure by:

-- Investing in, and restoring, our infrastructure, which will create jobs;

-- Improving the decision-making processes that underpin infrastructure investments to increase effectiveness and efficiency; and

-- Incorporating new realities such as technology and sustainability into infrastructure efforts. • Ensure a competitive workforce by:

-- Strengthening the skills and capabilities of the existing workforce; and

-- Strengthening the skills and capabilities of emerging workforce pipeline.

• Stimulate entrepreneurship and assist small businesses, by:

-- Proactively supporting entrepreneurs, recognizing their differing needs from small existing businesses;

-- Expand entrepreneurship education; and

-- Helping small businesses adapt to changing market conditions.

• Develop and conserve energy resources and grow the green economy, by:

-- Encouraging the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and industries;

-- Creating a market for renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean transportation products; and

-- Ensuring workforce skills in energy and related industries.

• Promote technology and innovation, by:

-- Incenting research and development, commercialization and production;

-- Catalyzing innovation partnerships especially among regions and among universities, industries and communities; and

-- Strengthening federal innovation programs.

• Ensure sound financing and good governance, by:

-- Re-establishing the federal role in economic development;

-- Integrating shifting economic development priorities into existing programs;

-- Better aligning federal, state and local economic development programs; and

-- Adapting to a more global world.


Interesting Fast Facts on the EDC Web Site



NEXTsteps was designed to provide a forum for informal networking and information sharing between innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, and others interested in nurturing entrepreneurship in the Midwest. Typically, NEXTsteps features the presentation of three or more technology companies or technology concepts ready to be taken to the next level.

Connections to capital, partners and advisors, seasoned commercialization executives, and input from a diverse range of industry professionals … NEXTsteps might just be the connection to your next dynamic venture.

Date: NOVEMBER 18, 2008
Time: 9:00 - 11:00 am (refreshments provided)
Location: Peoria NEXT Innovation Center
801 W Main
Peoria, Illinois

Additional details and directions to the event can be found at:


Looking for a Few Good Developers

More information on Warehouse District at


The Heartland Partnership is doing a great job marketin our region and help businesses expand and grow. Look at the creative effort below:


Play in Peoria

Interesting article in the Peoria Journal Star by John Sharp and Karen McDonald about a Scotsman who is in Peoria "to find out how the 2008 presidential candidates are "playing in Peoria" and voters' hopes and fears."

An example of how powerful "Play in Peoria" and "Will it Play in Peoria" remains. We need to use continue using this in our marketing - since the term is positively known world wide.


Another intersting article about riverfront planning in our neighboring community of Chillicothe.