Brewer-Watson appointed as new City of Kankakee CDA Director


March 15, 2019

KANKAKEE, IL. (March 15, 2019) – Mayor Wells-Armstrong will appoint Barbara Brewer-Watson as Executive Director of the Community Development Agency for the City of Kankakee at the City Council meeting on Monday, March 18. Brewer-Watson will transition from her role as President and CEO of the Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce at the end of the month.

“As a representative and member of the Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce, I’m certainly sorry to see Barbi go., said Scott Smith, Board Chair of the Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce. “As a friend and colleague of Barbi’s, I couldn’t be happier for her, as she has certainly earned this opportunity. Over the course of her time leading the Chamber, Barbi has done an excellent job of representing all our 400 plus members, as well as Kankakee County as a whole. On behalf of the Chamber, I want to thank Barbi for the job she did for the organization and wish her well with her new opportunity.” The Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce has seen much growth and change under Brewer-Watson’s leadership. The addition of events such as TasteFest, a regional food and beverage tasting event, and Leadership and Lunch has introduced the Chamber to a broader constituency and invited everyone to participate in the organization’s activities. When Brewer-Watson started at the Chamber in December of 2014 membership was at 327 and under her leadership it has grown to 411. “The Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce is an exciting organization that makes connections to those who actively participate. It can connect businesses to new customers, vendors, community leaders, and elected officials.”, says Brewer-Watson. “I know that I will miss leading the Chamber. Fortunately for me, I can still take advantage of its benefits as a member in my next leadership role.”

"Barbi is a great addition to the administration as she brings passion, enthusiasm and a forward thinking approach to an already dynamic team," said Mayor Chasity Wells-Armstrong. "I am
counting on her leadership and creativity to move the CDA to the next level of service delivery and community programming." The Community Development Agency is responsible for community outreach, improving City assets for development, assisting with economic development projects, and housing initiatives. With the City’s recent successful grant applications, the CDA is working to connect City residents to financial resources that help with housing rehab projects, reducing lead-based paint hazards in homes, and down payment assistance programs within various application processes. “This is an exciting time for our region and especially the City of Kankakee.,” states Brewer-Watson. “I look forward to using my creativity and skills to work with the Mayor, City Council, fellow City employees and residents to move Kankakee forward. When the opportunity for this position presented itself, I knew that my service leadership style would be a good fit. To connect residents and businesses to the resources and assets the City has will be professionally fulfilling for me.”

Brewer-Watson is a resident of Kankakee and lives with her husband Michael Watson and two dogs Snickers and Marbles. She graduated from Bradley Bourbonnais Community High School in 1998 and finished her undergraduate studies at Western Illinois University in 2014. She will be graduating with her Master’s in Organizational Leadership from Olivet Nazarene University this May. Brewer-Watson is the Board President of the Community Arts Council of Kankakee County, and a board member of United Way of Kankakee and Iroquois Counties and the Kankakee County Drug Court Board. In 2018 she was recognized as a Phenomenal Woman by the Mayor of Kankakee in celebration of Women’s History month, Emerging Community Champion from United Way, and a 40 Under Forty by the Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce. She begins the director position with the City of Kankakee on April 1.


The City of Kankakee was founded in 1853 and is the county seat for Kankakee County. The City is located on the Kankakee River which has been recognized as one of the cleanest in the state of Illinois. For more information on the City of Kankakee please visit their website at

The Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce is a 501(c)6 nonprofit corporation comprised of local businesses, nonprofit organizations and individuals. The KCCC unites businesses small and large, creating a central agency to improve prosperity and build a better community through networking, cooperative marketing and legislative advocacy. Visit the KCCC at 200 E. Court St., Suite 710, Kankakee, IL 60901, online at Phone 815.351.9068. Email The Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce currently has 411 members


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