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CSEDC’s Quarterly Forum featured tourism, site planning with GIS, exports and retail


Metro Chicago Exports Managing Director Tom Hulseman

Metro Chicago Exports Managing Director Tom Hulseman


The Chicago Southland Economic Development Corporation and South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association held the summer quarterly forum July 24, 2015 at the Thornton Fractional South High School, hosted by the Village of Lansing. We gratefully acknowledge the kind hospitality of Lansing Mayor Norm Abbott, the insightful presentations made by SSMMA Planner Dennis Latto, Chicago Southland Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO Jim Garrett, and Metro Chicago Exports Managing Director Tom Hulseman, as well as Michael Scholefield for moderating the event.

Mayor Abbott opened the forum by sharing that Lansing’s vision for the future, “The Way Forward,” which includes a new 2014 village comprehensive plan;  four tax increment financing districts; an Enterprise Zone Program application; creating a business retention and expansion program and improving the town’s gateways. Please click here to view the slides.

In a subsequent presentation, Tom Hulseman said there were tremendous growth opportunities for businesses to export goods and services overseas. In his role as managing director for Metro Chicago Exports, Mr. Hulseman leads a collaboration between seven Northeastern Illinois counties and the City of Chicago to increase exports from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and to support regional job growth.

Tom gave details about the Metro Chicago Exports Grant program, funded by JPMorgan Chase, which helps businesses expand internationally. The grant program, offers small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) up to $5,000 for costs associated with doing business abroad, including education, financing, marketing, compliance, business development, and counseling. The second wave application deadline is July 31, 2015. Please click here for the presentation slides.

In another topic, Jim Garrett discussed how the tourism and hospitality industry creates economic development in the Southland. In fact, the Illinois hotel/motel tax revenues generated: $240 million and 301,100 jobs in 2013, he said. Mr. Garrett believes that with a new major sports complex, the Chicago Southland could become a major sports destination driver, and he is seeking investors. Please click here to view the presentation.

Dennis Latto presented SSMMA’s SSAtlas geographic information system (GIS) mapping tool used for industrial rail site development planning in the Calumet River Corridor communities of Blue Island, Dolton, and Riverdale. SSAtlas is a web-based map viewer that allows viewers to display local, regional and federal spatial data. Please click here to view the presentation slides.

In closing, CSEDC and SSMMA Economic Development Director Reggie Greenwood announced that retail development group Select Chicago Southland will meet monthly and is now open to any community, whether or not they participate in the annual International Council of Shopping Centers’ retail convention, RECon. For more formation on Select Chicago Southland or becoming a CSEDC investor, please contact Holly Campbell at 708-206-1155.

More photos are here.

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