Livability is the sum of the factors that add up to a community’s quality of life—including the built and natural environments, economic prosperity, social stability and equity, educational opportunity, and cultural, entertainment and recreation possibilities. Partners for Livable Communities
Though challenged by current market dynamics, our community’s collective work to build vitality by enhancing local quality of life continues.
As we began 2020, we celebrated the Kankakee Metropolitan Statistical Area’s ranking of #1 in the Midwest for 5-year employment and earnings growth by Area Development magazine. This was coupled with the fact that for 6 of the last 7 years, including in 2019, the prestigious Milken Institute ranked the Kankakee MSA #1 in Illinois for job and technology growth.
For some time, growing employers everywhere – including in Kankakee County- have emphasized the importance of community livability in retaining and attracting talent. As such, the Alliance and its economic development partners have worked to elevate the quality of life discussion and to position and promote our market, particularly to the impact investment community, which is largely mission driven to work to grow communities in holistic, equitable and sustainable ways.
Initial strides to enhance our residential, commercial and hospitality sectors were bolstered significantly as greater understanding grew around the federal Opportunity Zone legislation – and by extension related incentives like New Markets Tax Credits, Historic Tax Credits and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits – over the last couple of years. As our discussions ensued with impact investors, many recognized the inherent value of investing an underserved yet well-positioned and growth-oriented community like Kankakee County. A select few also appreciated the tremendous place-based community and economic development work that had been accomplished over many years by many individuals and agencies all across our region, bringing us to our current investment-ready position.
And, like never before, both regional and local investors considered how they might join the growing effort to align Kankakee County’s real estate resources with the needs and wants of both residents and visitors.
One of the best parts? Through our ongoing conversations with impact investors, our collective focus has expanded beyond enhancement of our residential, commercial and hospitality spaces to include consideration of how our built environment might better serve the social, civic, educational and related needs of all community stakeholders, in true transformative placemaking fashion.
We thank you for your interest in Project Livability Kankakee County and urge you to learn more by exploring this site, participating in our 9-25-2020 Venture Kankakee County webcast (Episode 1: Co-Operation), and reaching out to our office for more information.