The Champaign County Regional Planning Commission believes that wherever there are people there are possibilities. In 2016 they celebrated their 50-year anniversary of providing programming in the areas of regional, environmental and transportation planning; economic, community, and workforce development; social services; early childhood education; and technical assistance in the area. The RPC administers many federal and state grants.
Maurey Williamson, the Communications and Public Affairs Coordinator for the RPC, said that the RPC does much for the community.
“We do many kinds of things for the community. We’ve been around for over 50 years now, but I wonder if people really know much about us and our 100+ programs,” Williamson said of the RPC that started in1966, and actually initiated the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Comprehensive Planning Program for Champaign County.
Their mission is: Promote, plan and facilitate improvements to health, safety, welfare, education, economic conditions, environment, and development within our region. All services will be performed in the spirit of cooperation and with a regional vision to enhance the quality of life.
Recently, the RPC welcomed a new CEO. Dr. Dalitso Sulamoyo, former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Illinois Association of Community Action Agencies in Springfield, comes with great experience in organizational leadership, government relations, collaboration, grants management and strategic development.
As far as business goes, the RPC has a big hand in the economic development of the community. They offer the Community Assistance Program, loans provided to businesses located outside of Champaign-Urbana, but still in Champaign County. They also have an intermediary relending program for businesses, organizations and governments in rural areas in the counties of Champaign, Douglas, Ford, Iroquois, Piatt and Vermilion. Plus, they have the Champaign County community development corporation, helping to finance businesses anywhere in Champaign County. These RPC programs offer borrowers low interest rates, fixed rates and lower down payments.
“The RPC is one of the best kept secrets in town. We utilized them quite a few years back. They have given our business all kinds of excellent advice, too,” John-Paul Buzard of Buzard Pipe Organ Builders in downtown Champaign.
This one-of-a-kind company was recently commissioned to build a new million dollar organ for a group in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
“The RPC gave us a loan. It allowed us to retain and gain new employees. It’s a wonderful organization,” Buzard said.
The RPC knows its way around the business financing area. They have closed more than 230 business loans totaling more than $21 million. They have requirements that vary by the specific program and whether the business is expanding, a start-up business, government agencies,
“We can fill in gaps of up to 50 percent of the total project cost for business start-ups, business expansions, and rural government projects,” Kathy Larson, economic development specialist for the RPC said.
The first criteria is location of the business to determine what financing program they may be eligible to apply for, Larson said.
“Our application requirements are also listed on (our website),” she said.
To find out more information about the RPC, visit their recently updated website at: ccrpc.org. There you can find information on committees, meetings, programs, services, projects, documents, data and maps.