At the third REDCO board meeting on December 16, 1999, Mayor Butler reported that the City of Marion and the REDCO officers would like to see the Williamson County Government and all other Williamson County cities join REDCO in a cooperative effort for economic development.
At the board meeting of March 9, 2000, after a report on the contacts made to Herrin and Williamson County Government, the board gave the REDCO officers approval for more in-depth study on a possible merger of other Williamson County economic development groups with REDCO, and gave permission for Robert Ferrari of Herrin, who had chaired several other county economic development groups, to study the structure and by-laws of REDCO for recommended changes to accommodate a possible merger with them. The board also appointed a committee to discuss a merger with the Carbondale Business Development Corporation (CBDC) with the understanding that the merger talks with the five Williamson County groups were separate and independent from the CBDC talks. It was also at this meeting that it was reported that REDCO had obtained a 60 day right of refusal to purchase the Armstrong/Cox/Reynolds 490 acres of land that would eventually become known as the REDCO Industrial Park.
Over the next few weeks there were several meetings with city and county governmental units in Williamson County about a merger. Marlene Simpson, and a REDCO board member, was a strong supporter of Herrin joining REDCO, and was very instrumental in obtaining approval from the City of Herrin to join REDCO. Shortly after the Herrin City Council’s vote to join REDCO, Carterville and the Williamson County Commissioners also voted to join the organization. As a result, 7 new board members were approved at the Annual Meeting of REDCO on May 2, 2000. The new board members elected to join the current board were Mayor Bill Mausey from Carterville, Mayor Vic Ritter from Herrin, Bo Emery from Williamson County Government, Bob Ferrari from Herrin, Frank Colombo from Herrin, James Claxton, an industry representative, and B.D. Cross from Carterville. Because of the new structure, an organizational meeting of the board was held on May 16, 2000, in order to obtain input from the new board members. At that organizational meeting some by-law changes were approved and new officers were elected. Dutch Doelitzsch was elected Chairman of the Board, Hugh Crane and Frank Colombo were elected Vice Chairmen, Marlene Simpson was elected Secretary and Don Bett was elected Treasurer.