Bloomington-Normal is facing one of its greatest challenges as COVID-19 increases all over the country. The virus has taken a medical, social and economic toll on communities like ours. Patrick Hoban, the CEO of the Bloomington Normal Economic Development Council (EDC), is focused on our community’s economy and helping businesses, big and small, stay afloat during this time.
As COVID-19 continues, Hoban and the EDC plan to address Bloomington-Normal’s largest challenges, including the potential strain of switching to remote work and the effect of workforce decline. Headlines of nationwide job loss that could be permanent threaten communities, but the EDC hopes that their efforts will keep Bloomington-Normal’s workforce strong. The EDC has created a recovery loan for businesses that are struggling due to Covid-19. They have also partnered with the Chamber of Commerce, the Area Convention and the Visitors Bureau on launching BNPrepared.org. The EDC plans to keep in contact with businesses by hosting a virtual BN By The Numbers and partnering with the Chamber of Commerce to check-in with every company and offer support. Even though they are working from home, the EDC will continue to reach out to members of the community to show personal attention and care to every organization.
Hoban and the EDC are not only planning for the present circumstances but Bloomington-Normal’s future as well. Hoban’s vision for Bloomington-Normal is for an economic plan that focuses on attracting and retaining future business and increasing the workforce to grow our economy and strengthen our community. After West Market Street Council Project Coordinator Laurie Bell met with Hoban, Bell commented, “We have spent the last few years developing a grassroots effort to rebuild the commercial center of West Bloomington on W. Market St. A redeveloped West Market Plaza will end the food desert with the West Bloomington Market, and revitalize the economic heart of West Bloomington with businesses that are dedicated to bringing stores, services and jobs to the community. The BN EDC has the vision, expertise, and leadership to make community economic development projects like ours a reality.” With the EDC’s direction and support, Bloomington-Normal will not just survive but thrive.