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Economic Development Partnership Awaits City Council Approval

WGIL Newsroom . Local News 306

Details are being released for a new public-private partnership which hopes to drive economic growth, locally.

An understanding between the City of Galesburg and the Galesburg Regional Economic Development Association will be considered at Monday’s City Council meeting. Since last fall a task force has been working to identify the shortcomings of economic development efforts in Galesburg as well as how to improve them.

With Council approval, the City of Galesburg will contribute $155-thousand annually.

Mayor and WGIL Owner John Pritchard tells WGIL that City dollars will be overseen with the aid government representatives on the organization’s board of directors.

“The organization itself will be responsible to communicate to all of the participants – which include the City and the County and the private members,” says Pritchard. “Because of the board seats, of course, the Mayor and the City Manager will have a responsibility to communicate to the City Council about what’s going on.”

Apart from transferring GREDA’s assets to the new entity and replacing the City’s Econonmic Development Department, a search will be conducted for an executive director. Board members will first meet to develop criteria for selecting a new administrator. Current staff at GREDA are being used until the public-private partnership has matured its operation.

Representatives of the private sector include local developer Mark Kleine and G&M Distributors President Adam Vitale. A long-term financial commitment is among the requirements for the board of directors. Pritchard tells WGIL that was among the concessions developed by GREDA.

“I think, obviously, this organization needs strong, active board members,” says Pritchard. “You know, we’ll (the City) abide by the document, but to me it’s something that I’d rather pick the team that’s going to win the game as opposed to people who might be willing to participate financially.”

The understanding has already been approved by the board of directors for GREDA, but is awaiting City Council approval Monday night.