Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

March 21, 2013

Teutopolis seeking consultant help to grow community

Bill Grimes
Effingham Daily News

---- — TEUTOPOLIS — In an effort to stimulate community growth, Teutopolis village officials are looking to bring in a consultant — though they are not yet sure on how they are going to use her.

Trustee Greg Oseland said Wednesday he would contact Jennifer Kibler, a social studies teacher at Collinsville High School who lives in Effingham. Kibler did a project for the village last fall.

"We will get some thoughts from her (Kibler), then come back and pull something together," Oseland said.

Oseland has said the board needs to be involved in efforts to "grow" the community, particularly with young families who would attend Unit 50 schools. Teutopolis schools have lost a third of their enrollment in the last 15 years.

"I think we need a community solution to this," Oseland said. "But everything comes at a cost."

Both Oseland and Trustee John Mette suggested Kibler might be able to do some research on how the village could best proceed.

"She says she has contacts on the development end," Mette said. "It may be time to give her a call."

Oseland emphasized there would be limits to the project.

"I don't want this to be an open-ended project," he said.

"We could give her (Kibler) the scope, and she could get back to us with the time and cost," added Trustee Roger Henderson.

Oseland said, as someone who moved into the community as an adult, he recognizes the special nature of the Teutopolis community.

"We still have the type of businesses that have closed in many small towns," he said. "I've talked to employers in Effingham who say applicants from Teutopolis float to the top of the list because people know they have the moral standards and work ethic to succeed. We just have too many pros in the community to not market it."

Oseland said the recent financial crisis facing Unit 50 schools underscores the need for growth.

"I think we were all involved in our own lives until the school issue slapped us in the face," he said. "But everybody has had the same slap in the face."

School districts throughout the area have been hit hard by the Illinois General Assembly's decision to slash state aid to 80 percent of the level needed to effectively educate students.

Oseland said, however, Teutopolis has the human resources and community cohesiveness to effectively market itself.

"The way this community comes together is unlike anywhere else I have ever seen," he said.

Bill can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, or at bill.grimes@effinghamdailynews.com.