leaf Back to Elmwood Illinois Home Page

A Better Elmwood Project
News Updates
Elmwood Tales
Business List Open/Closed
Key Issues
Storm Photos
Fund Raisers for Recovery


Stockton Missouri



Elmwood Response?


Utica Illinois

Big Omaha

Tech on the Prairie

Washington IL

Washington llinois Square

Juice 5 Points

New Juice Bar in 5 Points Opening Day

Washington IL

A Resource of Elmwood's People

A Lesson in Progress

We hang together or assuredly we will hang separately

This saying is attributed to Ben Franklin after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, but like many a historic belief, it may actually have been said by some one else. Possibly Richard Penn grandson of William Penn founder of Pennsylvania. It does state the underlying lesson I took away from my trip to Washington IL.


Denhart's Washington IL

I never liked Washington Illinois. I didn't have much experience with the town located twelve miles east of Downtown Peoria, but I had had to drive through it on several occasions. Before highway IL 24 was built north of Washington you had to wind through the public square at a snail's pace. I found Washington an obstacle to my progress.

One of my only other experiences with Washington was in JFL. I was working as part of the chain gang crew at a Brimfield JFL game that my son was playing in. The other team was from Washington, the coach was the most foul mouthed JFL coach I was ever around. I being on the sideline could easily hear profanity compounded by more profanity. It was a game for 11, 12, or 13 year olds, so the inappropriate behavior just reinforced my low opinion of Washington. I thought, Washington must be a place where people who were vanquished from Peoria lived.

IL 24 no longer is routed through the Washington Downtown; I am sure some predicted it was the end of the businesses on the square when this happened.The Washington square (why are squares usually round) now has a new attractive character. The ambience is of a less rushed leisurely shopping or dining experience. The picture on my main page is of Denhart's a restaurant, bakery, B and B, and banquet facility. Even though the web site says it is not open on Monday, it is. I was there for a Monday lunch. Many from Elmwood have taken an excursion to Washington, even though it is 40 miles away from us.

An example of a revitalized downtown isn't the lesson I learned in Washington. It is an example of an approach to problem solving. The lesson I learned is one that is essential for Elmwood to learn. The important lesson of Washington is represented by this building.

Five Points

Five Points includes library, meeting rooms, swimming pool, auditorium, exercise room, gymnasium, and indoor track.

I do not think Elmwood is Washington. Washington is five times larger than Elmwood. The area surrounding Washington has a population to make it 10 times or more the current population in the Elmwood region. It is never a good idea to copy, but to absorb what can be adapted to your own situation. That lesson is the coordinated planning, cooperative development, and shared resources used in making Five Points a reality. This is a lesson Elmwood needs to take to heart following our tornado.


Holland's Mercantile onthe square Washington was once named Holland's Grove

Send Your Elmwood Recovery Ideas

Study Other Recovered Communities


Greensburg KS


Parkersburg IA


Utica Illinois

Big Omaha

ZDNET goes to the Prairie


Lindy's Foods in Washington Illinois

Washinton Restoration

House Restoration in Washington IL

Washington IL


So, I encourage you to participate in this second stage project. Elmwood needs your ideas, knowledge, and efforts. We need to put enough energy into this second stage project to give it the thrust necessary to put Elmwood in a stable orbit for the 21st century. Please join in this movement. Email me or discuss it on Face book.


Illinois Observer

Illinois Observer

Family Trip Suggestions


Elmwood could easily have a similar store, but it would just fail financially if we develop businesses in isolation. We must create multiple enterprises to sustain such a store. I wrote about this in priority 4 Synergy in Multiple Economic Enterprises.

Washington was brought together by its mayor, every public entity: city council, school district, library board, chamber of commerce, park district, and arts council. They have created a wonderful center that serves all generations and is financially very successful.

Elmwood must come together and plan together. The city council, school district, township, community foundation, historical society, association of commerce, and recovery committee need to meet and develop a unified plan. Assess the needs, share ideas, and share resources in finding a path to revitalizing Elmwood.

I do not know why we have not done this, but I know we must. Washington has a center situated near all their schools, it serves as an after school program, seniors use it as the senior center, there is senior housing beside the center. They offer child care while mothers work out, they have many organized exercise groups. Five Points is a great place for receptions, the school has a swim team because of the pool. It isn't that Elmwood can do a Five Points Center, it is that this wonderful, financially successful center, tying the entire community together would not have happened if they hadn't gotten together and developed a common vision. The Five Points refers to the five main units of local government that had to work together to make it happen.

My sons thought I would learn not to pronounce Washington as "Warsh ingten", but they were wrong. All their fancy book learning don't mean nothing. We must draw on the wisdom within Elmwood; the power of everyone coming together to build a better future for Elmwood. Even those of us who speak in a certain uncultured dialect.

As you encounter council members, school board members, township officials, those on the recovery committee, association of commerce and ECF: ask why have they not met and developed a unified plan? Why are they not sharing their resources? After all, it is your community, as much as anyone's. It will be your tax money and your increased fees for services. It will be your local school that will struggle, if we don't help make a new vibrant economy. It is time to expand our revenue base not make it a scrum for limited dollars.

A Business Development Strategy

to Revitalize the Downtown Business District

1) Increasing profitability of Elmwood businesses

2) Elmwood 21st Century business recruitment

3) Tri-generational sustainable development

4) Synergy multiple economic enterprises

5) Raising Elmwood's standard of living

6) Silicon Prairie or They Will Come

7) Connecting our global network

8) A Lesson in Progress



Prev ---- Friday, August 20, 2010 2:12 PM ---- Next