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 –

Google Play Store –


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


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:

500 CAT Jobs Moving to Decatur

“The move is a testament to the quality of employees already in Decatur and a sign that the city can supply the needed additional workers,” said Ryan McCrady, president of the Economic Development Corporation of Decatur – Macon County. “It could send a positive ripple effect across the community. A manufacturing job in Decatur supports three-and-a-half other jobs in the economy.”  Visit the Herald & Review for the full story.

Things to Do This Weekend

All Weekend Long

Free Tax Help
fMarch 3 @ 4:30 pm – 7:30 pm
March 4 @ 9:30 am – 2:30 pm
Decatur Public Library
130 N Franklin, Decatur

Mt. Zion Spring Craft Show
Friday, March 3 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Saturday, March 4 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Mt Zion Convention Center
1400 Mt Zion Parkway, Mt Zion

Basic East Coast Swing        $70
Friday, March 3 – Sunday, March 5 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Mt Zion Convention Center
1400 Mt Zion Parkway,Mt Zion

After School Series: Art With the Masters          $96 – $112
Friday, March 3 – Sunday, March 5 @4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Decatur Area Arts Council
125 N Water, Decatur

Aviation Exhibit        $2
March 3-4 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Macon County History Museum
5580 North Fork, Decatur

Friday, March 3, 2017

Oglesby Mansion play
March 3 @ 10:00 am
Oglesby Mansion
421 W William, Decatur

Music at the Museum
March 3 @ 10:00 am – 10:45 am
Children’s Museum of Illinois
55 S Country Club Rd, Decatur

Open House and Customer Appreciation Party
March 3 @ 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Fleet Feet Sports
1090 W Wood St, Decatur

After 5 Live Art Show
March 3 @ 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Blue Connection
117 N Water St, Decatur

Friday Night Movie: The Mighty Ducks        $5
March 3 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Lincoln Square Theatre
145 N Main St, Decatur

Soul Purpose
March 3 @ 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm
VFW Post 99
3915 N Cowgill St, Decatur

Saturday, March 5, 2017

March Madness: Tournament of Books
March 4 @ 9:00 am – 5:30 pm
Decatur Public Library
130 N Franklin,Decatur

Sign Language Club
March 4 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Barclay Public Library
220 S Main St,Warrensburg

Maple Syrup Programs
March 4 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Rock Springs Conservation Area
3939 Nearing Ln, Decatur

Decatur Polar Plunge
March 4 @ 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Beach House
2301 E Lakeshore Dr,Decatur

Theatre 7 Game Night
March 4 @ 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Theatre 7
131 N. Water, Decatur

Bluesmattic Blues Band
March 4 @ 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Feeling Lucky
3775 N Woodford, Decatur

Need Money for College?
March 4 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Barclay Public Library
220 S Main St, Warrensburg

4th Annual Culinary Cookoff         $30
March 4 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Decatur Conference Center & Hotel
4191 US 36 W, Decatur

Environmental Film Series
March 4 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Decatur
3773 N MacArthur Rd, Decatur

Masterworks IV         $13 – $16.50
March 4 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Kirkland Fine Arts Center
1184 W Main, Decatur

Rock of Ages
March 4 @ 8:30 pm – 11:55 pm
VFW Post 99
3915 N Cowgill St,Decatur

DJ Philbilly
March 4 @ 10:00 pm
Feeling Lucky
3775 N Woodford,Decatur

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Rock Club Monthly Meetings & Field Trips
March 5 @ 12:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Clare’s Restaurant
2502 E William St,Decatur

Wind Ensemble
March 5 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Kirkland Fine Arts Center
1184 W Main,Decatur

Taxi Service Providers

Decatur City Taxi
(217) 330-7960

Stoney’s Shuttle and Delivery Service
(217) 450-1584

Additional Transportation Providers 



Additional Attractions:

Children’s Museum of Illinois, Scovill Zoo & Scovill Park Sculpture Garden
Rock Springs Nature Center
For even more events, visit THRIVE Entertainment Guide.
Free event admission unless otherwise noted.