One Shawnee finalizes 4 task forces to help improve region

Heartland group works to bring tourism to Southern Illinois

CARTERVILLE, Ill. (KFVS) - The Shawnee National Forest, the wine trail and prime hunting locations are some of the main tourism attractions in southern Illinois.

One Shawnee said it’s an area that needs improvement, along with a few others.

“We’re taking a bottom up approach,” said Patrick Windhorst, president of One Shawnee and also the 118 District State Representative.

He is eager to revitalize the Ohio River and Shawnee Forest regions of southernmost Illinois.

“Our board took that input, analyzed it and decided that we would organize around four areas of focus,” said Windhorst.

The task forces established by One Shawnee include:

  • Small business entrepreneurship and workforce development
  • Tourism collaboration
  • Recruitment and retention of young families
  • Community capacity building

Which, according to Windhorst, means a fancy way of saying it’s going to help stake holders in the region collaborate and work together on addressing problems going forward.

Windhorst said across the 10 counties this covers, those were the most common tasks people wanted to be fixed.

One Shawnee hoped to have a plan in place in the next six months.

“We will be coming forth with their final recommendations and our board then will decide. This will be in the fall, most likely, where we are going to go as far as implementing those recommendations,” said Windhorst.

One Shawnee encouraged residents in these 10 counties: Hamilton, Saline, Gallatin, Hardin, Pope, Johnson, Union, Alexander, Pulaski and Massac to participate in any way they can.

Folks are encouraged to look at the task forces on the One Shawnee website.

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