University News

IIRA, Macomb Host Rural Partners Meeting

May 25, 2023

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MACOMB, IL – The Institute for Rural Affairs at Western Illinois University recently hosted the May meeting of Rural Partners in Macomb.

Rural Partners links people, businesses, organizations and communities with public and private resources to maximize the potential of rural Illinois. The meeting was attended by nearly 30 partners from across the state, with six more attending virtually.

The meeting included a variety of sessions, including a welcome by IIRA Director and Dean for Innovation and Economic Development Christopher Merrett, Macomb Mayor Mike Inman and other local leaders.

Macomb Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Jock Hedblade presented a session about Lizzie Magie and Macomb's connection to the creation of the game of Monopoly. An update on IIRA Cooperative Development projects was given, including information about grocery stores, local foods and fish producers.

A brief business meeting was held as part of the event, before attendees were given a tour of downtown Macomb, which highlighted local development projects and plans for the downtown area, as well as local art projects, including the Rocky on Parade statues, the bust of Abraham Lincoln at City Hall, the downtown murals and other public art.

For more information about the IIRA, visit

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