“The mission of the Hancock County Economic Development isto enhance the economic vitality of Hancock County”
(Open Letter to the People of Hancock County and Rural Illinois,The Governor of Illinois, Illinois State Legislators and Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity)
As the Executive Director of Hancock County Economic Development I understand and feel deep empathy and concern for the people of Hancock County and business owners , the cities and villages of Hancock County and their leaders, their counterparts in the entirety of rural Illinois for all they have been through and are still going through since COVID-19 has forced all of us to change the way we live, work and play. As the sole Hancock County wide economic development entity HCED has been in the trenches and on the front lines with each of you since this crisis began.While this has been a hard time for all businesses and communities rural Illinois has been hit especially hard because we are not able to take advantage of or are simply not granted the resources that larger cities have been given to survive and recover from this crisis.
I have searched for resources to help the businesses and communities of Hancock County, and worked extremely hard to partner and enlist the assistance of anyone that could help in this time of dire need. Unfortunately, no matter what course of action I pursue, or how loud I scream and bang on doors of the powers that be that could help with resources, Hancock County and rural Illinois in general is ignored and left to fend for itself while huge pots of funding are sent again and again to the same urbanized communities.
Quincy in Adams County received a total of$645,000in funding in Round 2 of the BIG Grants. The rest of Adams County received$ 0 ZERO.(Rural Adams County)Hancock County (right next door to Adams County) received$5000.(Rural)
Champaign Urbana Businesses received a total of $1,395,000 dollars. In addition, One Mahomet business received $30,000. Mahomet is the fastest growing community outside of Champaign-Urbana in Champaign County and is by no means rural. The rest of Champaign County received ZERO.(Rural)
In Vermilion County four Danville businesses received a total of$260,000.(Danville is the largest city in Vermilion County) ($5,000, $100,000, $5,000, $150,000).The rest of Vermilion County received ZERO $0.(Rural)
We have still heard absolutely NOTHING about the Downstate Small Business Stabilization Grant Applications that were filed in June by 14 Hancock County small businesses.Attempts to receive updates on the status of these grant applications by either phone or email are generally ignored by DCEO (Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity).
Hancock County has now received a total of only(3) grants in the total of $45,000 ($20,000, $20,000, and $5,000)from the State of Illinois for only three businesses since this crisis began. Two of those were $20,000 each from Round One of the BIG grants and one of those is $5,000 from Round 2 of the BIG grants.THAT IS ALL!!!!! That is UNACCEPTABLE!!!Hancock County is just one example of rural communities across Illinois this is happening to.Despite this lack of assistance continued remediation demands continue to be imposed upon the business owners and people of rural Illinois. I did not add up the Round 1 numbers of the BIG Grant but am not expecting dissimilar results if I did.
I did not add up the number of businesses that were assisted or the amount of funding that went into Cook County businesses from both Round One and Twoof the BIG Grants but have provided the links from both rounds below so you are able to see for yourselves the huge amounts of funding that were given to this area.
I am no longer upset simply because Hancock County is being ignored and deserted. Now I am upset because rural Illinois in general has been abandoned by DCEO and the State of Illinois.The partners that DCEO has chosen to administer these funds through are simply not doing a good job at making sure they are reaching all areas of the state and all businesses that are struggling.DCEO is not ensuring there is clear accountability nor transparency or communication from its partners to the people of Illinois and the businesses who have applied for this funding.
Rural Illinois needs help from their legislators and DCEO with this issue IMMEDIATELY. I call upon each of you, on a bipartisan level, to work together to help the businesses and people of rural Illinois receive the funding they need NOW, before it is too late.
BIG Round One Awardees:
BIG Round Two Awardees:
Hancock County Economic Development
Corporation Phone: 217-440-8909