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Some may call it real talk. Limitless Decatur & Macon County is giving it to you straight, no fluff, simple messages that are easy to remember. We’re asking our citizens to be champions for Decatur and gear up with information so when they are engaged in a conversation about the community, they’ll know their stuff.

You know your mom’s birthday, the sixteenth president of the United States, the sum of ten and eight. There’s an enormous number of things we know and remember without thinking much about it. Decatur shouldn’t be any different.

This is exactly the point we’re hitting on with the new marketing campaign called "Know It." With significant progress made on many fronts, our comeback story is too good not to tell. These facts need to be shared with others and we should be proud to do so. Limitless has pushed some of these messages for three years, but now they appear louder than before.

Which of these Decatur facts are the most important to remember and promote? We’re starting with the areas where the greatest misperceptions exist. We’ve designed these messages to be powerful and memorable when standing alone, yet collectively tells a story of the outstanding opportunities that exist here, right now. You’ll see and hear them across various mediums throughout the coming months.

Here are some of the messages we’re leading the campaign with:

• Decatur has the highest hourly wages in the region. We’re at $27.76 per hour average, which is approximately $2.90 per hour more than the next regional metropolitan city.

• Millikin University and Richland Community College offer over 180 degrees and certificates. High-quality programs that fit everyone’s interests.

• Decatur’s violent and property crime rates are at a 20-year low. We are statistically safer than Champaign, Peoria, and Springfield.

• Decatur has over 1,000 open jobs available right now. Each month a list of more than 1,000 available jobs is compiled into a working spreadsheet found at CareersDecatur.com.

• Decatur is the most affordable housing market in the country. Pair that with our low cost of living, and that leaves more money to enjoy our amenities.

• People are moving to Decatur & Macon County. Between 2012-2016 the community saw a net gain of 931 people.

• Decatur has downstate’s only free Montessori schools. Champaign, Peoria, and Springfield schools’ tuition ranges anywhere from $6,770 to nearly $10,000 a year for an elementary student.

• Over 8,000 rail cars roll through Decatur each day. These rail cars are transporting our businesses’ goods and further helping the economy flourish.

• Decatur and Macon County are diverse. Our community benefits from a variety of languages, ethnicity, religions, and ages. Over 20 different languages are spoken in Decatur and Maroa-Forsyth Public Schools, and over 150 houses of worship are in Macon County.

As the community continues to thrive, we’ll add to our messages. For more on the messages above and to keep up with the campaign, visit LimitlessDecatur.com/KnowIt.

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Nicole Bateman is community marketing manager for Limitless Decatur & Macon County.

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