Draft Regional Economic Development Plan Out

A press release from the McHenry County Board:

Draft Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Available for Public Review; Open Houses Scheduled

ROCKFORD, Ill. – The draft 2016-20

(CEDS) for the Northern Illinois Region is now available for public review and comment.

The CEDS is a regional plan connecting three Northern Illinois counties on key initiatives to attract and retain businesses, improve workforce and infrastructure and promote other economic development activities.

The document prioritizes the region’s economic development efforts and is federally required for the purpose of applying for federal grants through the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA).

Originally covering Boone and Winnebago counties, the updated document includes McHenry County, which shares industry strengths, transportation assets and other connections with the rest of the region.

The area covered by the economic development plan.

The area covered by the economic development plan.

The CEDS planning process aligned ongoing economic development work of local government, economic development organizations, workforce development groups, educational institutions and others, and connected those organizations for potential collaboration.

Private-sector representatives and members of the general public also participated in development of the plan.

Additionally, the CEDS used existing planning documents in the three counties to highlight regionally significant initiatives already underway.


Carolyn Schofield

Carolyn Schofield

“Today, Illinois is simply not competitive in attracting new businesses and encouraging existing businesses to expand here,” said Carolyn Schofield, a McHenry County Board member who served on the CEDS Steering Committee.

“Illinois’ workforce has experienced a net loss of 108,000 jobs over the last eight years, and 19,500 manufacturing jobs were eliminated in Illinois during the last 18 months alone.

“Improving our jobs climate is critical if we are going to put Illinoisans back to work, and I believe the strategies included in this plan will go far in enhancing the competitiveness of McHenry County and the region.”

The draft plan is available at www.eddni.org/ceds, along with an online form for public comment.

Physical copies are also available at the Economic Development District of Northern Illinois (EDDNI) office, 313 N. Main St., Rockford Ill. and the McHenry County Department of Planning and Development, 667 Ware Rd., Woodstock, Ill. The public comment period for the CEDS draft runs through January 8, 2016. Public comments can be submitted by emailing tbona@eddni.org, calling (779) 348-7009 or visiting www.eddni.org/ceds.

CEDS Open Houses

Four Open Houses are scheduled during the public comment period for residents to learn more about the draft and provide feedback.

The Open Houses are:

Winnebago County – Thursday, December 10, 2015 from 4–6 pm, Winnebago County Courthouse, County Board Room, 8th Floor, 400 W. State St., Rockford, Ill. (prior to County Board meeting.)

McHenry County – Tuesday, December 15, 2015 from 5–7 pm, McHenry County Administration Building, 667 Ware Road, Woodstock, Ill. (Prior to County Board meeting)

Boone County – Wednesday December 16, 2015 from 4:30–6:30 pm Boone County Administration Building, 1212 Logan Avenue, Belvidere, Ill. (Prior to County Board meeting)

Winnebago County – Wednesday, January 6, 2016 from 5-7 pm, Regional Center for Planning & Design, 315 N. Main St.,Rockford, Ill.

During the Open Houses, copies of the draft and information about its key strategies and action items will be available. Additionally, staff and participants in the CEDS process will be available to answer questions and provide further explanation about the CEDS.

Following the open houses meetings, the public can provide additional input or ask additional questions by emailing tbona@eddni.org, calling (779) 348-7009 or visiting www.eddni.org/ceds.


The Economic Development District of Northern Illinois (EDDNI), formerly the Rockford Region Economic Development District, was created in 2010 to oversee and implement the region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, a five-year strategic economic development plan that now includes Boone, McHenry and Winnebago counties. EDDNI works closely with many partners as an economic development research and planning resource for job creation and growing community wealth. It is governed by a 30-member board and is supported financially by Boone and Winnebago Counties, the Rockford Area Economic Development Council and Growth Dimensions for Belvidere-Boone County.


The McHenry County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) is the regional economic development entity for McHenry County. It is a public-private organization comprised of business and industry investors and local governments from throughout the county. MCEDC serves as a liaison between public and private sectors to support existing industry and attract new businesses.


Besides EDDNI, CEDS planning partners include Boone County, McHenry County and Winnebago County government, Growth Dimensions for Belvidere-Boone County, the Rockford Area Economic Development Council and McHenry County Economic Development Corporation. Technical assistance is being provided by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) and Northern Illinois University’s Center for Governmental Studies.

The CEDS update is funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and grant from CMAP. In addition, the CEDS process is also coordinating with the federally-funded White House Strong Cities Strong Communities (SC2) initiative.


Draft Regional Economic Development Plan Out — 7 Comments

  1. It would be great to see and understand the overall strategy to stem the job losses.

    To help stem the population exodus and to attract new residents we do heed a comprehensive plan to attract businesses to create jobs relatively quickly.

    This will be one of my priorities on the county board.

  2. Tom, your intentions are great.

    However, the current Board has done about as much it can with the exception of MCDOT projects and the number of County employees whose sole job is to acquire / administer the plethora of grants currently existing in all levels of government.

    ‘Selective capitalism’ will not stem the tide of people leaving this state.

    Under the caption in the plan : “Top Priorities for Economic Well-Being”, I see absolutely NOTHING that will lower my taxes!

    I see more and more grants to be used for the expansion of selective capitalism.

    I see nothing which would address:

    – prevailing wage laws,

    – reductions in spending on education

    – Constitutionally GUARANTEED public sector pensions with a GUARANTEED 3 % annual increase, (once public sector employees get their pensions, they are prone to leaving the state to avoid the taxes needed to support those pensions – where does Nygren live?)

    – change to laws governing Township Assessors which force those assessors to value property based on a rolling three year sales average and the ridiculous ‘quad year’ re-evaluation (thereby garnering business for attorneys to appeal assessments to the local review boards who are not bound by the same laws).


    – control of welfare spending (including taxpayer funded healthcare)

    – right to work laws

    – funding for infrastructure replacement / expansion (eg. Water and sewage or will we see a repeat of the Dubai poop trucks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pQdjwliLMA)
    Unless we elect a new wave of Legislators to Springfield, our decline in McHenry County will continue and NO so-called Economic Development plan funded with taxpayer supported ‘grants’ will stop it!

  3. Cautious…..excellent points

    We have to decrease the size of all government units especially schools to take the pressure off.

    I don’t recall the last time I saw a school board decrease a levy or decrease expenses due to lower enrollment or efficiencies thru technology.

    The general public has to take aim and action at what contributes 70% to their property tax bills.

    Education is not this sacred cow.


    What a crime.

  4. We need people such as Paul Serwatka to represent us in Springfield.

    We need more people with the attitude of serving the people instead of themselves or the ‘establishment’ parties and / or the people who contribute to their campaigns!

  5. I downloaded and read the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for Boone and Winnebago Counties.

    What incredible crap!

    “In 2015, the Rockford MSA will be a world-class, sustainable community with an entrepreneurial culture and a diverse economic base outperforming peer MSAs.”

    Sorry, no.

    “Population projections by Woods & Poole Economics, Inc. for 2000 through 2040, as seen in Figure 3, suggest the Rockford MSA will grow more rapidly than the State of Illinois. However, these projections were made prior to the recent recession, which may substantially alter the figures. While the statewide population is expected to grow nearly 18.1% by 2040 (about 0.6% per year), the Rockford MSA was projected to grow 24.5%.”

    Have they noticed that our population is actually declining?

    This whole organization and process is another example of pie-in-the-sky money wasting, with contracts going to consultants who produce nothing of tangible benefit.

    All government can do is to create the environment and then stay out of the way.

    And what can they do to create that environment? Here are the keys:

    (1) Respect for property rights through generally honest courts and generally honest governments.

    (2) Basic physical infrastructure, including highways, water, and electric power.

    (3) An educated workforce.


    Other than that, there is NOTHING government can do to make business happen.

  6. It seems to me that we as tax payers in McHenry and Boone County we should support our children with basic college vocation 1-2 yr certifates… and advanced 2 to 4,yr degreee support…. \

    We can lead the nation..

    And then strengthened our community.

  7. Ernie: Educate all you want.

    Unless we fix our State Constitution relative to pensions, eliminate prevailing wage laws, and establish right to work laws, we will have the best educated underemployed population in the country!

    We need to change the Legislature in Springfield!

    We need to elect people who actually understand the problems AND have the backbone to make the necessary changes!!

    We are losing our best educated people to other states AND countries!

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