Economic Development Blog - APA

This morning the Economic Development Division officially launched our new blog!

We hope you'll visit our blog regularly and utilize it as a forum for a continual line of discussion, debate and exchange of ideas for our Division. 

APA has asked us a timely question for our inaugural blog. The Economic Development Agency (EDA) is approaching their re-appropriation this coming session. National APA is already meeting with EDA and is an active participant in thinking about EDA’s future role. The questions APA and we have for our members are the following:

1. What do you think EDA should do in the future as it relates to economic development and planning?

2. What should APA persuade Congress and the Administration to consider regarding EDA’s function and appropriation? What programs should they continue? What should they modify? What should they introduce and fund?

Please take a moment to reflect on these questions and chime in with your thoughts by commenting on our blog. The EDD blog will feature lots of great information on practical topics that economic developers deal with everyday, and we will occasionally invite high-profile guest bloggers offering their perspectives on the economic development issues of the day.

If you have any ideas, comments or questions about the blog please direct them to Shana Johnson, 

We look forward to interacting with you on the blog!


Good Scoop from the State DCCO

Small Businesses Can Apply for ARC Loans   

The SBA has begun offering loans for a temporary new program called America's Recovery Capital.  "ARC" loans of up to $35,000 are designed to provide a "bridge" for viable small businesses with immediate financial hardship--to keep their doors open until they get back on track. 

ARC loans are deferred-payment loans of up to $35,000, available to established, viable, for-profit small businesses that need short-term help to make their principal and interest payments on existing and qualifying business debt.  ARC loans are 100% guaranteed by the SBA and have no SBA fees associated  with them. 

ARC loans will be disbursed over a period of up to six months and will provide funds to be used for payments of principal and interest for existing, qualifying small business debt including mortgages, term and revolving lines of credit, capital leases, credit card obligations and notes payable to vendors, suppliers and utilities. 

For more information on ARC loans, visit www.sba.gov or contact your Illinois 

Small Business Development Center. 

Contact Us:

John Whalen
Regional Manager
3201 CIRCA Dr. Ste. 203
Bloomington, IL 61704
Phone; 309-663-7528
Fax: 309-663-8130
Cell: 309-830-8458
Anthony Rolando
Business Relationship Manager Canton City Hall
2 North Main Street, First Floor
Canton, Illinois 61520
Pekin Office-Pekin City Hall
111 S. Capitol
Pekin, Illinois 61554
Phone: 309-647-5896
Fax: 309-647-9325
Mobile: 309-338-4191
Scott Petty
Business Relationship Manager
100 S.W. Water Street
Peoria, IL 61602
Phone: 309-676-5704
Fax 309-676-5703
Mobile 309-264-7553

Links for You:

Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity:

DCEO Business Development:

Illinois Entrepreneurship

Buy Illinois Network:

Il Treasurer - Programs and Services:

Federal Business Opportunities:  

Location One:

Illinois Clean Energy Foundation:

Federal Regulatory Alerts Webpage:

Illinois Department of

Illinois Finance Authority

Illinois Municipal League:

DCEO LWIA & Workforce Development

DCEO Energy

lIlinois Department of Transportation:
Projects by District

DCEO Stimulus Website

Changes to SBA 504 Loan Program Will Allow Businesses to Refinance Existing Debt, Expand, Create New Jobs

Small Businesses seeking to expand will be able to refinance existing loans used to purchase real estate and other fixed assets as a result of permanent changes to the SBA's 504 Certified Development Company loan program. The changes were authorized in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The permanent changes will allow small businesses to restructure eligible debt to help improve their cash flow which, in turn, will enhance their viability and support growth and job creation. The 504 loan program can be used to purchase business real estate or fixed assets, such as heavy equipment or machinery, and expand current development projects.

Debt Refinancing: Legislation allows 504 program projects to include a limited amount of debt refinancing if there is a business expansion and the debt refinanced does not exceed 50 percent of the projected cost of the expansion. "Expansion" includes any project that involves the acquisition, construction or improvement of land, building or equipment for use by the small business. The following are some of the conditions under which borrowers will be eligible for refinancing:

• The debt being refinanced was incurred to acquire land, to construct a building or to purchase equipment. The assets acquired must be eligible for financing under the 504 program.
• The existing debt is collateralized by fixed assets.
• The existing debt was incurred for the benefit of the small business.
• The new financing provides a substantial benefit to the borrower when prepayment penalties, financing fees, and other financing costs are taken into account.
• The borrower has been current on all payments of existing debt for one year prior to the date of refinancing.

For more information on the 504 loan program and eligibility requirements, go to
www.recovery.gov or www.sba.gov/recovery or contact your Illinois Small Business Development Center.

FACTA Red Flags Rules Will Impact Small Businesses
Starting August 1, 2009, millions of small businesses that extend credit or defer payments for goods and services will be subject to a new set of rules under the Fair and Accurate Transaction Act aimed at helping curb identity theft.  The new rules-- known as the FACTA Red Flags Rules-- are federally mandated precautions certain businesses must take to protect customers from identity theft crimes. 

Many small businesses are unaware of this regulatory issue.  The upcoming FACTA Read Flags Rules require covered businesses to create a process for detecting so-called "Red Flags" in identity verification, such as notices from identify theft victims or law agencies, among others:

     Discrepancies in address history
     Fraud alerts on credit reports
    Suspicious use of SSN
     Inactive accounts that suddenly become active
    Credit-freeze notifications
    Credit reports with suspicious activity patterns
    Notices from identify theft victims or law agencies, among others

For more information on the FTC's "Red Flags Rules", go to the FTC website and red more about the new requirement starting August 1st.  

Innovate Illinois Competition

State of Illinois launches 2009 Innovate Illinois competition

Efforts continue to spur innovation in Illinois

Innovate Illinois is a statewide entrepreneurial and innovation competition recognizing high-growth entrepreneurs. Businesses compete on the merits of their innovations to be named the most innovative company in the state by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). Out of the hundreds of companies that apply, four will win a total of $80,000 in cash prizes.

Companies that advance to the statewide semifinals will benefit from networking with other innovators, exposure to potential investors, and statewide media coverage. To advance, companies must win a regional competition at one of Illinois’ 16 Entrepreneurship Centers.

2009 marks the fifth year of the Innovate Illinois competition. Since its inception, 29 companies have won the competition and collected over $450,000 in cash and prizes used to further their job-creating innovations in the State of Illinois.

Last year over 130 companies applied. Please open the link to learn more about this year’s competition.




Planetizen is an on line about city planning 
and urban development with great articles.  

A few are listed below:

Street Design

Suburban Makeover



2010 Census

The 2010 Census will take place in mid-March of next year, and the City of Peoria needs its citizens to stand up and be counted. 

Over the next 10 years, $300 billion/year in federal money will be distributed to each state, based on the number of people counted. For each person not counted, our region could lose between $300 and $1000, per person, per year. 

For more information, contact Shannon Ruh at 494-8649 or sruh@ci.peoria.il.us.

UFS Peoria

UFS, a great and fascinating business in Peoria, now is on Twitter and has a blog. 

Check it out.

And they have a video on U-Tube

Using tools like blogs, Twitter, Linkedin, You Tube, and Facebook are almost free ways to market. More business (and this government) are using these tools to get out the word about sales, services and opportunities.


TIF Increases

The Spread Sheet listed in the link below shows the growth in value in the ten Tax Increment Financing Districts in Peoria.  The rate of growth is substantially greater then the remainder of the City or School District 150.  The City has seen substantial increases in property tax and jobs as a result of the redevelopment in these TIF areas.

At the creation of the Ten Tax Increment Financing Districts, the Existing Equalized Assessed Value (EAV) (1/3 of fair market value) was 49,129,434.  In 2008 the total EAV had increased by $60,296,071 to a total of $109,425,505.

More info at:

Peoria Metro Area Survey

The Peoria metropolitan area including Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford Counties requests your help in gathering information to better market our region.

Log on to:


and take a few moments to complete this brief survey.

What do you think about living in the Peoria metro area? You can also register to win a prize package. This brief survey has only 10 questions and should take less than 5 minutes to complete.

Home Start Program

Illinois Housing Development Authority Program


To assist Illinois first-time homebuyers in need of down payment assistance, to access funds on a short-term basis in anticipation of the federal income tax credit for first-time homebuyers.

This program helps borrowers take advantage of the $8,000 Federal Tax Program that expires November 30, 2009.

First Mortgage Description

The first mortgage program will be a 30 year fixed rate amortizing loan insured by FHA. This loan can be used without the Tax Credit Advance loan. The loan will be serviced by U.S. Bank Home Mortgage. Underwriting terms are listed below. The first mortgage program is designed to continue past November 30, 2009 based on market conditions.

Second Mortgage Description

The Tax Credit Advance Loan will be secured by a second mortgage on the home. The loan will not accrue interest for the initial period which is through June 30, 2010. An administrative fee of $300 will be charged. The Tax Credit Advance Loan will only be issued with an Illinois Home Start 30 year fixed rate loan.

Within the initial period, borrowers will file their tax return requesting their federal tax credit. This tax credit can be used to repay the tax advance loan. If the loan is not re-paid by June 30, 2010, then the remaining loan amount becomes a ten year amortizing loan at ½% above the rate on the Illinois Home Start 30 year loan, and the loan will be serviced by U.S. Bank Home Mortgage.

This program is scheduled to end November 30, 2009. All loans must be closed by that date. The Illinois Housing Development Authority reserves the right to terminate the program prior to the scheduled end date.

Program Requirements


Home Start 30 year – must qualify based on FHA loan guidelines as well as IHDA’s current program guidelines.

Tax Credit Advance Loan – must qualify and secure a Home

Start 30 year mortgage.

Loan amount:

Home Start 30 year - is based on IHDA’s program guidelines posted on the website:


Tax Credit Advance Loan - 3.5% of purchase price with a maximum loan amount of $6,000. This loan is to be used towards the down payment.

Borrower’s investment:

Borrower must contribute 1% or $1,000 whichever is greater, of the purchase price to the transaction.


Other IHDA HOME Funds, Trust Fund assistance or other programs as deemed by IHDA may not be used in this transaction when securing a Tax Credit Advance Loan.


Property must be occupied as the borrowers’ primary residence within 60 days of closing. Borrower must maintain occupancy for the life of the loan. The IRS requires a rebate of the federal tax credit if residency is not maintained for 36 months.


Tax Credit Advance Loan - $300 paid at closing. This may be netted out of proceeds of the tax advance loan. $100 will be refunded if the loan is paid in full by June 30, 2010.

Loan Term:

Tax Credit Advance Loan - 0% through June 30, 2010. If there is an unpaid balance at that date, it then becomes a ten year amortizing loan with a rate of the first mortgage plus ½%.

Eligible property:

Existing 1 unit, single family properties. Must include 2nd mortgage payment in total housing expense ratio.
Interesting Sustainable Development Code on line



HOTPAC Government

(Honest, Open, Transparent, Participatory, And Collaborative)

We use a number of free programs to inform and involve the public,

and to market economic development opportunities.

We use a large number of blogs, located at the address below:


We make frequent entries on the City of Peoria Economic News Blog:

We also place the entry on Linkedin:

And on Facebook:

And on Twitter

LEED Training

TRICON and PALM Members and Friends

“Going Green in Central Illinois / LEED Preparation Training”
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design

This is essentially the same successful course offered last Spring, now updated and reworked with 2009 USGBC LEED information. The training prepares individuals for and will include the exam for LEED Green Associate, now the entry level designation. For those with experience and qualifications now required by USGBC (ie worked on LEED projects last 3 years), this course also prepares you to take the new LEED Building Design & Construction AP exam (formerly NC).

This training is intended for contractors, suppliers, developers, architects/engineers, trades workers, apprenticeship instructors, city/county staff and anyone interested in green building and the LEED Green Associate designation. See www.gbci.org for more on LEED.

Fair warning, this class filled in 2 ½ days last January – REGISTER ASAP by filling out the attached pdf file and faxing to ICC PDI. The form is fillable – just save the pdf to your computer, open, click over a space and start typing. Save and email or fax to ICC/PDI.

TRICON has been working with City of Peoria Workforce Development and ICC/PDI to set up green building training offerings available at ICC and through a grant from the US DOL.

Scholarships are available for most applicants so that the course cost is only $350 including the Green Associate exam.

Please forward to others you feel may be interested. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

I’ve also attached again the registration information for Building Analyst and Envelope Professional Training and BPI Certification. This training is geared for the residential market – contractors, workers, energy consultants/auditors, etc. It should be said, however, that much of the information covered applies to all types of structures.

Best wishes.

Ginger Johnson
Executive Director
124 SW Adams, Ste 315
Peoria IL 61602
Phone 309.637.0934
Cell 309.369.7232

Sustainable Economic Development

Sustainable Economic Development defined by Wikapedia. I am always intrigued by Wikapedia, totally written by unpaid volunteers, who usually get it right

More info below:


Recovery Zone Bonds

The Federal American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) created several new types of bonds to help kick start our economy.

More info at:


Capital Improvement Bill

The State of Illinois passed a $31 billion capital improvement that will help fix roads, bridges, schools and public transit systems. The State projects that the spending will create and retain about 439,000 jobs.

The bill includes funds for the construction of Orange Prairie Road extension from US 150 to IL 91.


Business Plan Competition

Want to participate in the LAUNCH Business Plan Competition?

Entries are due by August 1st.

For more information:


Blog sources in Peoria.

C.J. Summers Blog provides a lot of information and opinion, and contains a great listing of web sites and blogs. Check him and them out at:

Peoria Pundit by Bill Dennis also has a lot info.

Peoria Charter School Initiative

A group of leaders announced the formation of the Peoria Charter School Initiative, which plans to create a charter public school in Peoria. The organization submitted a letter of intent requesting to be awarded the charter for the Peoria Math, Science & Technology Charter School. The School is planned to open in 2010. It will be a District 150 public school open to any student who applies.

Quality schools are a requirement to help the redevelopment of the Heart of Peoria. This effort will help attract new homeowners to the older part of our city.

More info at:


Charter School

The new charter school is a great idea. Quality schools are essential to help lead the redevelopment of the Heart of Peoria.

Tuesday July 7th at 10:00 am at the Peoria NEXT Innovation Center at 801 Main Street in Peoria there will be a media event announcing the formation of the Peoria Charter School Initiative (PCSI). This combined group of business leaders, educators and citizens, led by former Caterpillar Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Glen Barton, hopes to establish the first charter public school in Peoria.

Sustainable Economic Development

The Center for Livable Communities is a national initiative of the Local Government Commission (LGC) which is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization. In 1991 the LGC developed the Ahwahnee Principles for resource-efficient local and regional land use planning.

The principles create an interesting synergy among the principles of new urbanism, sustainable development, and economic development.


Methodist Red, White and Boom 4th of July

Great Fireworks show on the Peoria Riverfront on the 4th of July, 2009. Our thanks to Methodist Hospital, JMP Radio, and the Cities of East Peoria and Peoria.

And thanks to all the Vets who sacrificed for our country.

The names of my Morgan Park High School mates from years 1965 to 1967 who gave their all for our country in Vietnam.


Check out Artist Suzette Boulais 
web page.  She runs Arts Partners 
in Peoria, and was kind enough to 
let us use some of her art work to 
enliven this blog.

Economist Dianne Swonk of Mesirow Finance writes an excellent newsletter, available on the link below:


Attended the Government Finance Officers Association national conference this week. Lots of good scoop about the stimulus and bonds and the future of our economy and its impact on local government. The concesus of opinion among economists is that we have hit the bottom and things are slowly improving, but that the recovery will be very slow.