INITIATIVES & PROJECTS

Grow Gillespie is dedicated to a five-year vision plan for the revitalization of the downtown district that includes the following initiatives and projects.

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In 2018, Grow Gillespie adopted a strategic action plan that identified streetscape improvements as a top priority to support a livable and economically healthy downtown. Our vision plans support the streetscape experience as we work diligently towards transforming the downtown public realm into a cohesive, inviting and thriving environment that benefits the community.

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In 2020, Grow Gillespie moved forward in the development of a business incubator program with the goal of increasing the arts and culture in Gillespie, decreasing the downtown storefront vacancy rates, and in retaining the younger generation through artisan opportunities. The SyncSeed  incubator is designed to help them succeed by providing free to low-cost workspace, 360 mentoring, brand development, social media and basic core business expertise, access to investors, and so much more,

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An extension of SyncSeed incubator program, our pop up, 400 sq ft space next to the IL Coal Museum is the perfect location for the incubator artisans or craftsmen. The shop provides them with an opportunity to test their business concept and handmade goods to see if they are viable without the high risk of leasing a storefront. The pop up will also be available to other specialized retail entrepreneurs seeking a stand-alone space for short term rental.

Grow Gillespie realizes the arts and culture are missing from our community. Currently we are exploring a public art projects initiative. Ranging from temporary pieces to permanent installations that enliven our downtown district, public art can be a powerful catalyst for change. In thriving towns, arts and culture have proven to improve the quality of life, boost the local economy and help address social issues

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A giving garden is a direct way to assist our community towards ending poverty. With no paid staff, Gillespie volunteers take care of The Giving Garden, located at the intersection of Chestnut and Montgomery streets. The produce goes to the Nutrition Center and IVEDC lunch program. This season, the garden is growing green beans, potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini and cucumbers. Recently, a fence was built around the garden with the help from some of the GHS football team.

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