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Mattoon in Motion to hold community town hall
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Mattoon in Motion to hold community town hall

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Mattoon in Motion wants to invite the entire community to the Town Hall meeting in the Bock Gym of the Mattoon Area Family YMCA on March 8 from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. Groups will be unveiling six unique programs and goals for our community. Many business leaders, Chamber members, educators, students and civic leaders have spent countless hours over the past 6 months volunteering to help make this project successful and improve the quality of life and long-term success of our community.

As a reminder, the Mattoon Chamber of Commerce worked together with the Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation to find ways to help Mattoon prosper in the future. Through this collaboration we were able to succeed in getting the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs at Western Illinois University to select Mattoon as one of only three communities included in their Management and Planning Programs Involving Nonmetropolitan Groups (MAPPING) program. The Mattoon Chamber of Commerce and other original committee members recruited a cross-section of over 80 residents to take part in the initial planning meetings last fall. The committee's goal of the MAPPING program was to identify areas that can benefit from an organized effort on behalf of a diverse mix of citizens from high school students up to retirees in improving the quality of life in our community.

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The six groups have been working hard on developing programs that will enhance Mattoon community's ability to nurture youth, embraces parks and recreation, and focus on high quality housing. The groups are also developing programs that include a thriving workforce, a robust economy, and regional promotion of our area through tourism.

The first project of the Workforce in Motion group involved over 400 businesses who were asked to complete a survey via e-mail regarding their facility’s ability to attain and retain their employees in today’s environment. The group was seeking information to help these businesses with the challenges they face with workforce issues now and into the future. They emphasized that the data will provide insight into what initiatives and partnerships are needed to help them succeed and the greater Mattoon area to prosper. The group received 140 responses which statistically is a great response rate of nearly 30%. The group's goal is to share this data with all the area businesses and educational institutions to form working partnerships and build relationships. The group is still studying the data and will have the results available at the Town Hall meeting.

The Town Hall will have presentations of all six groups along with some entertainment and tastings from local eateries. The bands Motherlode and The Legend 27 will be proving music prior to and after the main presentations. We will have free food samplings from 19th Street Dairy Queen, Don Sol Mexican Grill, Hunan Fine Asian Cuisine, Kep's Cooking, and Mark's My Store. Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken has graciously donated their signature sweet and unsweetened teas for the event. County Market is donating bottled water as an additional beverage option.

Please join us to learn what plans are in place to facilitate the continued growth and prosperity of Mattoon.

Ed Dowd is the executive director of the Mattoon Chamber of Commerce.

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