Help Beautify the Main Street Islands

Let’s keep Decatur an attractive place to live, work, and play! Help the Beautify Decatur Coalition with these upcoming cleanup events to rejuvenate the West Main Street Islands:

Friday, April 6th
Time: 10 am to 2 pm
Meeting Place: Millikin Homestead | 125 N Pine St, Decatur IL 62522
Tasks: remove litter, add weed protection and remove plants that lack curb appeal

Wednesday, April 11th
Time: 10 am to 2 pm
Meeting Place: Millikin Homestead | 125 N Pine St, Decatur IL 62522
Tasks: plant new plants and add mulch

Please dress appropriately for the weather and bring garden gloves and landscaping tools if possible. Safety vests and lunch will be provided.

For more information, please click here.

Decatur to Have Ag Academy & FFA Program

December 18, 2017 – The Decatur Public Schools Foundation today announced the creation of the Dwayne Andreas Ag Academy, made possible by a $1.65 million dollar gift by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. Ag educators at Eisenhower and MacArthur High Schools will lead a formal academic and field-based FFA curriculum, with an emphasis on career development in the agriculture industry, beginning in the fall 2018. The Academy will incorporate a Living Science Farm and collaborate with agribusiness companies across Illinois.

“We have to engage more young people to pursue opportunities in agriculture if we want the United States to continue to be a leader in global food security,” said Howard G. Buffett, Chairman and CEO of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. “Dwayne Andreas was a true pioneer who helped make the U.S. a global leader in agribusiness – we hope this Academy inspires the next generation of leaders to build on his legacy.”

“We are so excited for the opportunities this program will present for the students of Decatur Public Schools,” said District 61 Superintendent Dr. Paul Fregeau. “The number of agribusiness endeavors in the Decatur area is astounding. We feel this program will create a conduit to local careers or careers throughout the world if the students desire.”

The project has grown from a collaborative effort between school district leadership, Neuhoff Media and Limitless Decatur & Macon County. Area agribusiness employers such as ADM and Tate & Lyle will be key partners in connecting students to future jobs within the industry.

“The Academy will be a game-changer for students and for employers in our region,” said Decatur Public Schools Foundation Director Zach Shields. “Decatur represents the hub of global food production. Nowhere else in the world has there been the combination of local agribusiness partners and the generosity of a donor like Mr. Buffett to support a program of this magnitude.”

“This initiative is truly significant to continue the transformation that’s moving our community forward,” said Nicole Bateman, Executive Director of the Midwest Inland Port and Community Marketing Manager for Limitless Decatur & Macon County. “We need to identify every opportunity to connect young people directly to real job possibilities. This is an important step in that direction, and there is so much value in cultivating the communication and leadership skills developed by participation in FFA.”

 

Find additional coverage here.

Introducing the City Scout App!

Introducing the City Scout Decatur App!  Finally, an app for Decatur that features a full Events Calendar, Dining Guide, Attractions Guide, Local Business Guide and so much more!  Use the app to find some of the best local businesses, local eateries and attractions.  The app features hundreds of dollars in savings at local businesses with the Coupons/Rewards section.  Download the app in the App Store or the Google Play Store today by clicking the links below or searching “City Scout Decatur”.

App Store – https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-decatur-app/id1318385974?mt=8

Google Play Store – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.grandstand.decaturapp

Celebrating Manufacturing Day

Approximately 250 students from Decatur’s MacArthur and Eisenhower High Schools and Heartland Tech Academy participated in Decatur’s 2nd Annual Manufacturing Days held on October 25th through October 27th at Richland Community College in Decatur, IL.

The three-day event encouraged students to get a closer look at available manufacturing career paths through facility tours, symposiums with local manufacturers, and interactive presentations.

Studies show that the U.S. will need to fill 3.5 million advanced manufacturing jobs over the next 10 years. Events like Decatur’s Manufacturing Days are coordinated in hopes that the next generation of manufacturers will become inspired for careers in manufacturing.

Manufacturing Days would not be a success without the help from the participating manufacturers (see list below), Richland Community College, Heartland Tech Academy, DPS61, IMEC, the EDC of Decatur and Macon County, and ADM for the generous lunch donation.

ADM
Akorn
Caterpillar
Decatur Industrial Electric
International Control Services
Mason Manufacturing
Midstate Electrical Training Center
MRI
Mueller Company
Ring Container Technologies
SMART Local 218
Tate & Lyle
TCCI Manufacturing
UA Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Local 137
Union Iron
Voestalpine Nortrak
Western Illinois University
Workforce Investment Solutions

Additional Media Coverage
NowDecatur.com
Herald & Review

Be an America in Bloom Volunteer!

Beautify Decatur is expanding their efforts to positively impact our community. They have entered Decatur in the national America in Bloom (AIB) contest.

What is America in Bloom?

In short, it’s a community improvement program that creates:

  • an opportunity for communities to build their image
  • a nationwide program that brings a community together to beautify inside and out
  • an opportunity to make a community more appealing through community involvement
  • a unique and informative creative process to highlight our community and improve overall involvement in beautification efforts

America in Bloom Committee – A Community-Wide Effort for Beautification

The committee’s goal: Make necessary preparations for the judges’ visit. (Green thumbs are optional!) The visit will highlight what we do well, and we’ll identify further improvements through increased collaboration and resources. To get us there, we need you!

The Commitment

We ask that you attend monthly meetings starting in September.

Volunteer Projects

Volunteers are needed for the following projects:

  • Participating in planting and clean-up projects
  • Assisting with implementing strategies to increase “bloom” factor – more flowers in public/private properties.
  • Helping plan community tour and dinner events
  • Creating marketing materials
  • Spreading the word about the AIB effort by speaking to churches, civic groups, schools, etc.
  • Expanding Bee-utify Decatur Contest specifically to improve corridor appearances by increasing number of participants and number of available prizes.

How to Sign Up

To sign up for the committee or for more information, please contact Ellen Hearn at 217.454.8432 or by email at ERHConsulting@comcast.net.

DPS at FPS

What does it mean to be Limitless in Decatur, Illinois? It means taking chances, investing in our youth, going above expectations, opening doors for opportunity.

On Friday, August 31, 2017, over 600 DPS61 sixth grade students, 100 high school students from MacArthur and Eisenhower, and 70 Limitless Ambassador community volunteers embarked on the Farm Progress Show (FPS) thanks to the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, NowDecatur, Decatur Public School District 61, Richland Community College, ADM, U of I Extension – 4-H, and the Economic Development Corporation.

A passion project of this endeavor is what makes Decatur, Illinois Limitless.

Check out this Herald & Review article to read more about #DPSatFPS.

 

Here, There, and Back Again

Considering a move to Decatur but unsure whether it’s a place for you? If you come for a job interview, you’ll hear about Decatur’s selling points and why it’s such a great place to live. But is it true?

I moved to Decatur nearly 14 years ago to attend Millikin University as a college freshman. Upon graduating, I left the Midwest for the East Coast. One year later, I came back to Decatur, a place that had unexpectedly become my home. Here is my personal, unconventional, and honest look at life in Decatur.

Size: Small enough to run into familiar faces at the grocery store and to know community leaders firsthand. Big enough to offer a regional airport, two country clubs, Scovill Zoo, Richland Community College, Millikin University, the Children’s Museum of Illinois, live theatre, museums, and art galleries. With 76,000 people, we are neither a small town nor a big city. We are a small big-city.

Cost of Living: As far as national averages go, the cost of living in Decatur is lower than the norm. That means that groceries, utilities, and transportation cost a little less here than most other places. Where we boast the biggest savings is in the housing market. Tally up the square footage and amenities of homes in Decatur to those in other cities and you’ll quickly realize your family’s growth potential both inside the home and in the backyard.

Conveniences: When you move to town but find that your coffee fixings didn’t, we have two Walmart supercenters, Target, and multiple Walgreens and CVS locations. We also have two Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, a Panera Bread Co., and several locally owned coffee stops to get you restocked and refueled.

Shopping: You can stop into one of several department stores at Forsyth’s Hickory Point Mall, or you can experience retail charm through our locally owned shops where small-town personal service meets the look and feel of big-city boutiques. Some of my personal favorites: The Brass Horn, once a haberdashery that has expanded to include women’s lines; Giggles, a fun, unique gift shop that can personalize nearly anything; Millie and Bo’s Barkey, an upscale pet boutique complete with health-conscious pet treats baked in store; The Decanter, where our local connoisseurs impart their knowledge of imported and local wines during regular tastings.

Dining: Like most small towns, we have our share of diners and mom & pop stops. Just as cities juxtaposed by interstates have mall-chain restaurants and ample fast-food options, so do we. In the spirit of many big cities, we have a broad spectrum of restaurants: gourmet, ethnic, steak, seafood, fusion, breakfast, bakeries, and bar food. Some of the local favorites include Paco’s Sol Bistro, one of 15 restaurants in Downtown Decatur offering American/Southwestern fusion and great service; the Beach House, a locally owned seafood restaurant that sits beachside, offers lake views while dining indoors or out, and is complete with an oyster bar that is “shucking awesome”; The Wharf, located on the south side of town, is a hidden gem and true local hangout – get a horseshoe while you’re there (Philadelphia has cheesesteak – Central Illinois has horseshoes).

Healthcare: We have two hospitals, Decatur Memorial Hospital (DMH) and St. Mary’s Hospital, offering advanced sub-specialty medical care that rivals big city hospitals. DMH, for instance, offers molecular imaging for prostate cancer that is only available at one other institution in the country – Mayo Clinic. Because Decatur’s healthcare systems have such big draws from surrounding communities, it is common for our physicians to have treated multiple generations within one family, just as it is common for patients to know their physicians on a first-name basis from community involvement outside of the hospitals.

Water: We’re home to Lake Decatur, our 2,800 acre water source that is surrounded by the city. Thanks to its central location and size, you can conveniently fish, participate in the local Yacht Club, or use any of the five public boat launches to spend the day out on the water. It is a prime spot to watch the 4th of July fireworks show or listen to the annual Labor Day Pops shoreside concert put on by the Millikin Decatur Symphony Orchestra, and it makes for great views of the sunrise or sunset.

Nature: Overseen and funded by the Decatur Park District, we have over 40 parks and nature areas within Decatur. They include bike paths, paved and natural walking trails, pavilions, playgrounds, ponds, sports facilities, golf courses, and public boat launches. If you really want to get in touch with nature, go to Rock Springs Conservation Area and be sure to walk through (and breathe in) Pine Forest.

Travel: When driving through town, you can get anywhere in Decatur within fifteen minutes. Rather than stop-and-go, bumper-to-bumper, gridlocked traffic, we have easy drives any time of day or night. When traveling out of town, we have a small regional airport with incredible fares. Plus, we’re located centrally within the state. In an hour or less you can drive to Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana, or Springfield, our state’s capital, to travel by Amtrak. Or, you can get in your car and be on the interstate within minutes.

All in all, Decatur is a community of hardworking people who are as willing to lend a helping hand to strangers as they are to close friends. Rather than the hustle and bustle or anonymity of big cities, we offer a more laid back approach to life amongst friendly faces. If this sounds like a place for you? Welcome home.

 

Contributed by Jamie Muscato, Limitless Ambassador, and the creative mind behind Commode to Joy.

 

Summer Bucket List

Look no further for that summer bucket list. We have you covered. Check out all the fun, and unique, things you can do to truly enjoy summer in Macon County. Pick up the July issue of Thrive Entertainment Guide, or view the list here. (Pages 2-3)

Foreign Consuls Visit Midwest Inland Port

(Video)

On April 5th and 6th, officials from the Midwest Inland Port and the Economic Development Corporation of Decatur – Macon County hosted representatives from the following Chicago Consulate offices: Ecuador, Bulgaria, Spain, Korea – KOTRA, Italy, Argentina, Hungary, Mexico, South Africa, and Philippines.

These foreign dignitaries learned about the Decatur economy and opportunities in the area for business development and expansion. During their 2-day visit, they toured ADM North American Headquarters and Complex, ADM Intermodal Ramp, Mueller Water Products, and TCCi Manufacturing. They also enjoyed presentations at Millikin University, Beach House, and Gin Mill.

Hear what the distinguished guests had to say about their trip to Decatur: