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Partnership News
June 20, 2014
Our Mission:
Rural Partners is a member-driven forum that links individuals, businesses, organizations and communities with public and private resources to maximize the potential of rural Illinois.

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The CDS International Annual Conference is taking place July 20-23, in Dubuque, IA, and it's an event that community developers from around the world will be talking about! Register today to take advantage of early bird rates! Early bird rates end after June 20. Featuring sessions devoted to communities and regions that are on the path to creating their own unique Renaissance, the Dubuque meeting will provide an ideal setting to introduce CDS members and guests to innovative strategies in economic development, health, education, local facilities/services, transportation, planning, natural resources management, and more.   

Conference information may be found on the CDS website and registration is at this link
Is your county developing a creative class?
The creative class thesis—that towns need to attract engineers, architects, artists, and people in other creative occupations to compete in today's economy—may be particularly relevant to rural communities, which tend to lose much of their talent when young adults leave. The ERS creative class codes indicate a county's share of population employed in occupations that require "thinking creatively." Variables used to construct the ERS creative class measure include number and percent employed in creative class occupations and a metro/nonmetro indicator for all counties, 1990, 2000, and 2007-11. A break-out of employment in the arts is included.
Survey will document economic impact of county fairs

Agricultural county fairs have a long tradition in Illinois, but the impact goes far beyond delightful squeals from children on the Tilt-A-World and sticky fingers from cotton candy. In a cooperative effort, University of Illinois Extension and the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs, fair-goers in 15 counties will be surveyed to assess the economic impact of Illinois’ agricultural fairs.
The report will address the money spent by fair attendees, as well as non-economic impacts of annual fairs. The selected counties include Adams, Champaign, Clark, DeKalb, Fayette, Greene, Hamilton, Lake, Mason, Massac, Marshall, Mercer, Monroe, Richland and Whiteside.

Save the Date!

"Is Your Downtown READY?" 20TH Annual SIED Conference to be held on Thursday, July 10, 2014 at the John A. Logan College in Carterville, Illinois. $45 conference fee includes lunch. For additional information and/or to register, visit

Vacant Lots for Urban Farming

While parts of Washington, D.C. have rapidly developed in the past few years, there are still District-owned lots throughout the city with no current plans for development. Under a bill introduced by councilmembers, vacant lots and plots of land owned by the District could be turned into urban farms. The amendment to the Food Production and Urban Gardens Program Act of 1986 would "establish an urban farming land leasing initiative," as well as a tax credit for food donations and tax abatement for properties leased for the purpose of becoming small-scale urban farms.
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Statements of opinion in this newsletter are not necessarily endorsed by Rural Partners.