DeKalb County seeks community input on economic development

DeKalbHarkening back to Abraham Lincoln’s adage that “the best way to predict your future is to create it,” Northern Illinois University and five public and non-profit organizations serving DeKalb County are partnering to create a vision for the county’s economic development future.

The first step in this process is to seek broad-based community input about economic development priorities.

Two opportunities for public input are planned for Tuesday, Nov. 17, at the DeKalb County Farm Bureau, located at 1350 W. Prairie Drive in Sycamore.

Two interactive 90-minute “summits” will be held at 8:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. on that date. The format for each summit includes a presentation by NIU researchers from the Center for Governmental Studies on “The State of DeKalb County’s Economy,” followed by small tabletop discussions to obtain participants’ ideas for the county’s economic development future.

“We want this to be an inclusive process because economic development affects everyone,” said DeKalb County Board Chairman Mark Pietrowski. “If we do it well, we help existing businesses flourish and attract new businesses that offer jobs with good wages.”

A strong economic base is essential to the quality of life in every community, Pietrowski added, because a strong local economy provides jobs, tax revenues and important services that residents need.

Sycamore Public LibraryFollowing the Nov. 17 summits, NIU researchers will meet with community leadership from municipalities throughout DeKalb County to better understand their specific economic development assets, needs and opportunities. The information gathered from the meetings, combined with the ideas generated at the summits, will be the basis for DeKalb County’s economic development vision.

The summits are open to the public, and residents who live, work, attend school or own property in DeKalb County are encouraged to attend one of the events.

The Nov 17 summits are free of charge but registration is required to attend the event.

Registration is available online. An online survey will also be available for people who would like to provide their ideas but are unable to attend one of the summits.

This visioning process is being co-sponsored by DeKalb County Government, the DeKalb County Economic Development Corp., the DeKalb County Community Foundation, Northern Illinois University and the DeKalb County Farm Bureau.

For more information, contact Diana Robinson at (815) 753-0912 or [email protected] or Brian Richard at (815) 753-0162 or [email protected].

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