The Big Table wraps up discussions for 2020, implementing ideas in 2021

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Thursday marked the last gathering of the year at the virtual Big Table.

Area Leaders wrapped up a year of discussions about how they can move the region forward.

The group leaders said 2020’s theme was “Pivoting.”

Usually, the Big table talk is held in person, but this year the group turned to Zoom, still securing nearly 750 participants over four different sessions.

The discussion reached 55 zipcodes, nearly 20 more than in 2019.

“I feel that the fact that this big table event was able to pivot and provide the opportunity and dicussion that it did during covid really represents our communities in a nutshell,” Discover Peoria CEO J.D. Alfonso said.

Over the course of four sessions, area leaders highlighted the region’s accomplishments and faults, also brainstorming ideas to make consistent improvements.

The group tackled three questions:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to be?
  • What’s stopping us from getting there?

“The barriers are opportunities being we need to continue to work towards connecting those suffering from poverty, homelessness and substance abuse with appropriate resources,” Dalfonso said.

Group leaders said on the other side of the region’s barriers is better quality of life, better education, equity and inclusion and economic growth.

“We can’t have a great community without our quality of life we can’t have innovation and start ups without properly trained people,” Chris Setti, CEO of the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council said.

The Big Table is hoping to continuously push the region forward with consistent conversations, engaging the community.

The plan now is to flesh out this year’s ideas for change and implement them in 2021.

The Big Table Greater Peoria sent out a survey to this year’s participants for feedback.
More than 83% of participants said they are feeling optimistic about the next 12 months in Central Illinois.

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