Our “Plan B for Peotone” to be unveiled on Jan. 8

Proposed project would explore feasibility for Will County’s exurban agricultural community to become cornerstone of Chicagoland’s climate-smart regional economy

Who:   Heuer Network Associates & Iroquois Valley Farms Real Estate Investment Trust

What:  Unveil “Plan B for Peotone”

Where:  Will-South Cook Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD); 1201 Gougar Rd.; New Lenox, IL 60451 

When:  Wednesday Jan. 8, 2020  6:30pm

Why:  The Will-South Cook SWCD–a  local unit of government dedicated to natural resource management–advances its mission by hosting a public dialogue on Will County agriculture.

Farming comprises 40 percent of Will County.  The agricultural community needs a plan to ensure that it can continue to deliver economic, environmental and social benefits for generations to come.

For decades, the eastern Will County village of Peotone has been known as the site of a proposed “South Suburban Airport.”  The state of Illinois has spent tens of millions of tax dollars on media campaigns, engineering plans, and the purchase of more than 4,200 acres of farm ground.   This seven-square miles of state-owned farmland is located near where the Pritzker administration plans to spend $200 million on an I-57 highway interchange.

Heuer Network Associates principal Bob Heuer brings extensive experience in sustainable development policy to his proposal to facilitate a privately- and publicly-funded study process examining the current and potential value of Will County agriculture.  He contends Springfield’s plan for a “third” regional airport languishes because the commercial aviation marketplace is adequately served by the region’s five existing airports (O’Hare, Midway, Milwaukee, Rockford, and Gary.) “Plan B for Peotone” is envisioned as generating a body of knowledge to inform a number of heretofore overlooked infrastructure investment choices.

Iroquois Valley Farms (IVF) impact director John Steven Bianucci plans to present an overview of the Evanston, IL-based farmland financing company and its plans in Will County.  On Nov. 11, IVF completed the purchase of a 150-acre farm located directly north of its 80-acre certified organic farm on Wilmington Road between I-57 and 88th Avenue (several miles south of the proposed highway interchange).  Proximity to the metropolitan Chicago population center presents an opportunity to showcase the IVF business model to make farmland for the next generation of organic producers. The Rock Creek Demonstration project into an agroforestry, wetland, and row-crop-destination working farm with local food retail.