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Over 30 new local GO TO 2040 implementation projects help communities develop and deploy their own plans

Third wave of CMAP Local Technical Assistance projects will support communities' efforts to put their own planning strategies into practice for sustainability, livability, and economic prosperity

CHICAGO, November 7, 2013 – Thirty-two new projects led by municipalities and nonprofits from across the seven-county metropolitan Chicago region will receive staff assistance or grants to support community-driven local implementation of the GO TO 2040 comprehensive regional plan.

In its third year, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) Local Technical Assistance (LTA) program has now sponsored 150 projects to help counties, municipalities, and nongovernmental organizations plan for increased livability, sustainability, and economic vitality.  To promote implementation of community plans developed with prior CMAP support, many projects in the latest round build on plans originally developed through LTA.  See www.cmap.illinois.gov/lta for program details, including a full list and map of projects.

For two years following the adoption an LTA-supported local plan, CMAP commits staff resources to help each community with implementation.  A number of the new LTA awards take that assistance a step further.  For example:

  • Campton Hills and Westchester will update their zoning ordinances to support implementation of their recently adopted, LTA-developed comprehensive plans.
  • In Berwyn, a capital improvement plan will help to align infrastructure investments with the community's comprehensive plan.
  • From 2011-12, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Chicago partnered with CMAP to help Joliet create a redevelopment plan for its historic prison and the nearby U.S. Steel site. Now, the City will initiate a corridor planning effort for Chicago Street in its downtown to facilitate bicycle and pedestrian connections to other local trails and sites, including the former prison.

"Among municipalities, residents, and businesses, the demand for effective local planning is intense," said Randy Blankenhorn, CMAP executive director.  "They can see the path to livability, but sometimes capacity is lacking.  So our LTA program helps fill that gap -- with CMAP staff support and, in some cases, grants -- while respecting how important it is for each community to control its own future."

Shortly after GO TO 2040's adoption in October 2010, CMAP established the LTA program with a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Sustainable Communities Initiative. After that three-year grant runs out in December 2013, CMAP will continue its LTA program with new funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, the Illinois Attorney General, and more.

Just as pivotal is the involvement of CMAP partners such as the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus (MMC), Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), Center for Neighborhood Technology, Chicago Jobs Council, Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), The Chicago Community Trust, and Openlands have been critical to the LTA program's success over the years. This marked the first year that CMAP and the RTA held a joint call for projects via one simple application for their respective LTA and Community Planning programs.

"ULI Chicago has been involved with CMAP since its 2005 inception, and the LTA program has strengthened that partnership, particularly in terms of our technical assistance panel program" said ULI Chicago member David Galowich, Principal, Madison Realty Group, Inc. and Chair of the Joliet Correctional Center Redevelopment panel. " Redevelopment efforts in Joliet got a boost when the ULI Chicago panel was completed last year, and this new LTA project will continue those efforts by making the area more accessible for cyclists and pedestrians while supporting areas of the former prison site's transformation into open space with multiple recreational uses."

With an emphasis on coordination across multiple jurisdictions, the new LTA projects depend on strong partnership between local governments and community-based organizations. Clusters of communities in DuPage and Lake Counties will collaborate through Homes for a Changing Region, a partnership in which CMAP, MPC, and MMC help neighboring communities plan proactively for future housing demand and supply.  Cook County is working closely with CMAP in combining two federally required plans into one strategic Planning for Progress effort that will help communities across the county identify priorities for investment around housing, community, and economic development. The West Suburban Chamber of Commerce and Industry will initiate a transit- and cargo-oriented development plan in coming months. CMAP will continue to work with the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association on two new projects, including a workforce study and bicycle-pedestrian plan.

Many LTA communities from past years have been recognized for their planning efforts. The American Planning Association Illinois Chapter awarded Park Forest its 2013 sustainability plan of the year award for Growing Green. Recommendations from their plan will continue to be implemented via a new bicycle and pedestrian plan in the LTA program's third round of projects.  In 2010, The Chicago Community Trust made sustainable development a funding priority, in part to help implement GO TO 2040 through projects at both the community and regional levels.  Several LTA communities, including Park Forest, have received funding to help implement their plans.

"The Chicago Community Trust has taken a leadership role in the philanthropic community through their support of local GO TO 2040 implementation at the local level," said Bob Dean, CMAP's deputy executive director for planning. "Their Community-Based Sustainable Development grant program has played a critical role in making things happen on the ground related to LTA plan recommendations."

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About CMAP.  The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) is the comprehensive regional planning organization for the northeastern Illinois counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will. By state and federal law, CMAP is responsible for producing the region's official, integrated plan for land use and transportation. The agency's innovative GO TO 2040 planning campaign develops and implements strategies to shape the region's transportation system and development patterns, while also addressing the natural environment, economic development, housing, education, human services, and other quality-of-life factors. See http://www.cmap.illinois.gov for more information.

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