Regional thinking is needed

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

It is not our usual practice to find editorial fodder on the editorial page of a sister paper — in this case the Morton Times-News — but we have to respond to a view recently offered there.

The editorial in question takes exception with a marketing campaign devised by the Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and the “Will it play in Peoria?” slogan adopted for marketing the region by the bureau.

The editorial stated, “(I)f the PACVB’s marketing slogan, ‘Will it play in Peoria?’ is what will be used to encourage potential conference and event officials to choose Central Illinois as the place for their events, we do not think it provides enough visibility to Morton.”

The editorial continued, “The real question is, who will benefit more from the PACVB’s marketing strategies — Morton or Peoria? Considering it is the PEORIA AREA Convention and Visitors Bureau, we are assured that Peoria will be the first thing that comes to mind. The PACVB needs to make a better effort to bring visibility to the communities that are helping send PACVB officials to trade shows around the country ... It is easy to say the Jones family is a nice family. But, it certainly does not tell us much about each individual in that family. It is also easy to say the Peoria area is a nice area. But, do Mortonites really consider themselves part of Peoria?”

To be blunt, Morton and other surrounding communities are lucky to be in the shadow of Peoria and need to realize that.

Residents of outlying communities may like to talk about Peoria like it is the red-headed stepchild of Central Illinois, but without the economic powerhouse that is Peoria, these communities might be reduced to nothing more than bedroom communities rising out of a cornfield.

Peoria’s economic strength, in part, is derived from the diversity this region offers.

Informed Peorians realize that.

It is far past time we all see each other as part of a bigger picture.

When the McCluggage Bridge re-opened after its overhaul, Morton Mayor Norm Durflinger spoke of the awakening he and others had of the need for Peoria.

Without the bridge, Durflinger said, other communities in the Greater Peoria Area felt cut off from Peoria and did not like that feeling.

Durflinger said the area needed to think regionally, not just of their little corner of Central Illinois.

There is nothing wrong with civic pride. But, we are all part of the Greater Peoria area, Morton included.

We cannot let civic pride stand in the way of progress.

The PACVB campaign is not just about Morton or Peoria.

It is about Peoria, Washington, Morton, East Peoria, Chillicothe, Pekin and many other cities in this area.

Would there really be a need for hotels in Morton if not for the attractions, businesses and conventions that Peoria draws?

We all need to realize we are greater when we work as a region, and think of ourselves as a region.

We are all only diminished by opinions to the contrary.