The Illinois Valley Area Chamber of Commerce honed its focus on economic growth in 2012.
Two projects the chamber began working on in 2012 are still “very much alive” in 2013, IVAC executive director Marci Duro told chamber members Thursday evening at the 101st annual dinner. One enterprise is interested in the Peru area and has need for natural gas and use of the river as transportation for its product but has not narrowed down a site.
“The other is a project that we have been working on since the end of May,” Duro said.
“We began as one of 60 sites submitted, and for the last few months we are one of two in the running. The details are still highly confidential but this is further evidence that the Illinois Valley is truly a viable location for major corporations to take a serious look at.”
IVAC is responsible for the administration of the Illinois Valley Enterprise Zone.
This year it came under attack and was in danger of being dismantled, Duro said. IVAC represented the Illinois Valley at hearings in Rockford and Peoria, testifying on behalf of local communities to a special senate hearing board as to the importance of the enterprise zone and its’ continued need as a tool in the retention and attraction of business.
Seven enterprise zone applications were administered and approved for the Illinois Valley area in 2012.
Overall in 2012, IVAC received 33 RFIs, which are companies requesting information on sites and/or buildings to locate their operation. Of the 33 received, 21 were sent data on the area which resulted in submission of 65 sites/buildings. The remaining requests were either unsuitable or the criteria required could not be met, Duro said.
“Each RFI is just enough different that a lot of time and energy go into each one,” Duro said. “In most instances you do not hear back as to who landed the deal. Sometimes we get it via the inside grapevine but cannot always count on that.”
2020 Vision Visits
IVAC is continuing its 2020 vision visits, meeting with local business and industry with retention and expansion in mind.
“Combining the information we gather from these visits, we are able to connect business to business in our local area and uncover needs or concerns,” Duro said.
“In addition, it creates an excellent source for completing some of the responses needed to the RFI activity coming in. Third party endorsements always add credibility to a presentation.”