Visitor Center at the McLean County Museum of History

The McLean County Museum of History expects 20,000 visitors a year to its soon-to-be-open Visitor Center. According to the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau the average out-of-town tourist spends $41 a day in food and recreation. Other estimates, like this one from the Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies at Michigan State University, place even higher values on out-of-town visitor spending.

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According to IMPLAN the $820,000 in food and recreation spending would generate a direct regional impact of $241,000, plus an additional $86,000 in indirect and induced activity. That would translate into 4.5 new jobs and $38,000 in additional state and local tax revenue. A brief GLT radio segment on this estimate is available here.

Unrealized Hotel Stays Related to the U.S. Cellular Coliseum

The Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau has estimated that due to the lack of enough accommodations for potential users of the U.S. Cellular Coliseum in downtown Bloomington in 2013 the area did not welcome 43,400 visitors or accrue $1.9 million in overnight hotel stays.

Visit_BNAccording to IMPLAN the $1.9 million in unrealized hotel stays would have generated an additional $672,000 in business activity. Thus, by missing on all those conventions and events the County forego a total of $2.6 million in economic output. That would have translated into 26 new jobs and $200,000 in additional state and local tax revenue.

Tools to Estimate Regional Economic Impacts

The Economic Development Council of Bloomington-Normal has lent us their copy of the IMPLAN software from MIG Inc.

EDC_logoIMPLAN is a well-established program for economic modeling that can be used to estimate the impact of a variety of business activities through a series of regional economic multipliers. Through the support of Illinois Wesleyan University’s Action Research Center we will purchase a copy of IMPLAN tailored to McLean County, lL. IMPLAN_logoAdditionally, the Ames Library will add a copy of the Bureau of Economic Analysis Regional Input-Output Modeling System (RIMS II) tables to its repository of databases and resources.

Renters’ Rights in a Foreclosure

ui_lawKomal Vaidya, Esq., Equal Justice Works Foreclosure Fellow from the Community Preservation Clinic at the University of Illinois College of Law is working toward guaranteeing renters’ rights during the foreclosure of a landlord’s property. We shared our foreclosure maps with her and discussed how to “flag” foreclosure procedures initiated against rental properties through the County Recorder’s Office Database.

Gathering New Data

We have visited the Recorder’s Offices in both Springfield (Sangamon County) and Urbana (Champaign County) in order to compile a list of Sheriff Deeds recorded between 2006 and 2013. Both counties use the Laredo software from Fidlar Technologies and the Recorders of Deeds kindly produced database queries containing the data that we needed.

Sangamon County Offices, Springfield, IL

Sangamon County Offices, Springfield, IL

Next we will extract the street addresses of the foreclosed properties so that Sarah Kolbe, our GIS consultant, can map them.

Research Team

The 2014 PNC Bank Foundation fellows are Stephanie (Steph) McAtee [left] and Dominique (Nikki) Castle [right, seated]. Brigitta Jakob [center] has joined us as part of the Summer Enrichment Program of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at IWU.

2014 PNC Fellows

Left to Right: Stephanie McAtee, Brigitta Jakob, and Dominique Castle (seated)

Steph is a sophomore Economics and International Studies double major and Nikki is a junior Economics and International Studies double major. Brigitta, a first-year Economics major, is completing a summer internship on Economics Research through the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at IWU.

Exploring TIF Districts for West Bloomington

During the spring semester four IWU seniors (Jamal Smith, Jonathan (Jake) Bates, Megan Rogers, and Xinlin Xu) completed an internship with the City of Bloomington’s Economic Development Office. We met every other Friday in order to explore the economic viability of establishing a Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) District in West Bloomington.

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At the end of the semester the students delivered a presentation of their findings in front of the City Council. You can read the story here.

Crime Flows and Ethics

Jonathan (Jake) Bates was selected to participate in the Seventh Annual Undergraduate Ethics Symposium organized by the Prindle Institute for Ethics at DePauw University.

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Jake Bates (back row, center) at the 2014 Prindle Institute’s Undergraduate Ethics Symposium

The organizers called for proposals where undergraduate student work showcased the ethical dimension of the “critical issues of our time”. Jake wrote a short paper on the ethical implications of using crime data analysis to allocate Police resources. You can read the IWU news story here.

Presenting at the MEA Annual Meeting

The Midwest Economics Association (MEA) has accepted two papers for presentation at their 2014 Annual Meeting in Evanston, IL (see the program).

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Normal Police Department Sub-Beat Map

Jonathan (Jake) Bates will present his own Senior Project on crime flows in Normal, IL, and join Matthew Bishop and Benjamin Aberle in their overview of socioeconomic determinants of foreclosures in McLean and Peoria Counties.