November 20, 2019 – Herb Kuryliw, Director of Sales & Business Development for iFiber and Dan Payette Executive Director of Blackhawk Hills Regional Council presented on the potential for Bi-State Regional Commission to partner with Blackhawk Hills and North Central Illinois Council of Governments in an Economic Development Agency (EDA) application to extend fiber optics into to the their respective region. They noted that iFiber would write the application and provide the required match.
October 23, 2019 – Jim Tank, Bi-State Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Board Member and RLF Program Representative to Bi-State Regional Commission, and Donna Moritz, Revolving Loan Fund Program Administrator, presented information about the Revolving Loan Fund Programs in the Bi-State Region.
Bi-State Revolving Loan Fund Program. The Bi-State Revolving Loan Fund in Rock Island and Scott Counties is celebrating 34 years of providing gap financing to businesses. Since the inception of the program in 1985, over $10.7 million has been loaned to 114 businesses in Rock Island and Scott Counties. These loans have helped generate nearly $441 million in total investments, accessing city and state public financing programs, financial institutions, and company equity. In addition, over 3,900 jobs have been created/retained in the two county area. Currently, there is approximately $800,000 available to loan.
October 23, 2019 – Bi-State Regional Commission staff facilitate long range transportation planning as directed by the States of Iowa and Illinois, and by the federal government requirements on 5-year cycles. Planning for 20-30 years into the future is the typical time horizon for these plans.
Planning Areas. Long range transportation plans (LRTPs) are developed for the Quad Cities Metropolitan Area, Iowa/Illinois and the area known as Region 9, including rural Scott County and the entire geographic area of Muscatine County, Iowa. These are funded through federal transportation funds passed through the respective states.
September 25, 2019 – Robert Sinkler, former Colonel for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers overviewed a proposed concept to pursue designation of a federally recognized port consisting of existing ports and terminals along the Mississippi River from the Iowa and Illinois border at river mile 580 (Dubuque) to the south border at river mile 362 (Keokuk), north to south. There are 7 counties in Illinois and 8 counties in Iowa adjacent to the river in this corridor.
August 28, 2019 – New Western Illinois University Provost and acting President Martin Abraham recently relocated from Youngstown, Ohio and is in the process of addressing the school’s number one challenge of improving enrollment. Since 2014, new freshman enrollment has been declining from 3,400 to 2,000 students currently. He looks forward to making more contacts within the Quad Cities area as he begins working toward stronger partnerships within the region.
April 24, 2019 – Rachel Bruce, Bi-State Regional Commission Planner, reported that Census Day is April 1, 2020, but outreach efforts began as early as 2018 with the coordination of programs like the Boundary and Annexation Survey (BAS) and Participant Statistical Areas Program (PSAP). These programs gave local jurisdictions the opportunity to review and propose modifications to boundaries for census tracts, block groups, and census designated places (CDPs) to ensure that the Census Bureau accurately represents the geography of the region. This summer, the Census Bureau will begin address canvassing to verify structures and addresses for the questionnaire mailing. Canvassing is expected to last until August, and the Census Bureau has already begun hiring workers for canvassing activities and in preparation for Census Day.