Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2013, 2:48 pm
HCEDP introduces new director and economic development specialist
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Submitted press release
HCEDP introduces new Director and Economic Development Specialist to the Henry-Rural Rock Island-Mercer County Region.
Collaborating with area businesses and municipalities, Henry County Economic Development Partnership (HCEDP) and Bi-State Regional Commission applied for and was one of thirteen national awardees of the Rural Jobs Acceleration Innovation Challenge Grant. With the award, the Partnership has hired two staff to spearhead economic development projects for the Henry, Rural Rock Island and Mercer County region. The staff was officially welcomed at the monthly HCEDP Meeting Thursday, January 17, 2013 in Cambridge, Illinois.
Kathleen Repass of Geneseo, Illinois will serve as the Economic Development Director, and Katie Hobbs of Bettendorf, Iowa as the Economic Development Specialist. Both began their duties the first week of January. Their office is located in the Henry County Courthouse, Cambridge, Illinois.
As part of the targeted initiatives, HCEDP will sponsor the 2013 "I Pitched" Entrepreneur Contest. This innovative competition launches entrepreneurs and spurs economic activity. Last year's contest resulted in six new business start-ups, three business loans and ten jobs created or retained. Changes this year are the addition of a category for existing business retention and expansion and a second competition venue in Geneseo, Illinois. Scheduled for March and April of this year, more information about the competition is available at www.henrystarkfastpitch.org .
This January, HCEDP was instrumental in accelerating emergency maintenance on the Mississippi River by the Army Corps of Engineers by providing relevant information through a letter writing campaign to President Obama, Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack, and Federal and local legislators. The reduction in barge traffic on the Mississippi River due to low water levels would have a negative economic effect on the businesses of Henry County and the surrounding region.
The Partnership, working with Henry County Firearm Manufacturers is providing relevant information to Legislators regarding the pending Gun Control Legislation. According to the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, 25 businesses in Henry County are affected by this legislation. Bi-State Regional Commission reports there are 157 small arms manufacturing jobs in the Bi-State Region, with approximately 400 jobs in the industry and over $15 Million in annual earnings.
HCEDP Chairman Charlie Lotridge met with Rock Island Clean Line Energy personnel to discuss their proposal to establish a direct current line through Henry County. HCEDP will post information about the status of the Clean Line project on the HCEDP website www.hcedp.com. HCEDP representatives and business leaders will travel to Springfield in March to meet with our area Legislators to discuss the needs and opportunities of our County and region's businesses and citizens.
Formed in 1991, Henry County Economic Development Partnership (HCEDP) is a not-for-profit corporation with membership from the public and private sectors interested in sustaining and encouraging growth of existing businesses and attracting new businesses.