Weekly Update, 2/6/09
CMAP meetings. Just a reminder that the February CMAP Board meeting has been cancelled. The Programming Coordinating Committee will meet at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, February 11, 2009, and the Wastewater Committee will meet at 9:30 a.m. See the CMAP committees page for links to meeting agendas and other materials.
Recovery act. As of Friday morning, a bi-partisan group of Senators is attempting to negotiate reductions in what has become a $920 billion package of spending and tax cuts. Majority leader Reid says he will call a vote on Friday if a compromise emerges. If there is no compromise, he will call a special session on Sunday. If a version of the bill passes, there would be a conference next week to reconcile differences between the House and Senate bills. The goal is still for President Obama to have the bill for signing by February 16. Please watch our new web page about the regional response to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan. Click here to read our latest special weekly update.
Capital plan. Governor Quinn has begun speaking with leaders in the General Assembly about the possibility of a capital plan for roads, transit, schools, water treatment, and other necessary infrastructure improvements. According to stories in Crain's Chicago Business and the Peoria Journal Star, the Governor said passage could be as soon as April 3, and he wants a bill that emphasizes sustainability and renewable energy. The Chicago Tribune reported that House Speaker Madigan and Senate Majority Leader Cullerton are looking at the motor fuel tax as a possible funding mechanism.
Full Circle news. In partnership with the Preservation Compact, the Real Estate Center at DePaul University has issued a report on rental housing in Cook County. Its section on Community Housing Audits is based on research conducted as a partnership of the Institute for Housing Studies, the Lakeside Community Development Corporation, and CMAP's Full Circle project.
Blog entries. CMAP's GO TO 2040 blog has a post by Anne Holub about the Midwest Hazecam, a project for observing air quality at various urban and rural locations. In addition to the live cameras, nearly real-time data can inform the public about the levels (and causes) of air pollution. Also, read about how to contribute photos to our new Flickr pool.
Fairchild Challenge. CMAP has teamed with the Chicago Botanic Garden to promote the 2009 Fairchild Challenge-- a free, multidisciplinary contest that challenges Chicago-area high schools to take action on behalf of the environment. On Saturday, January 31, students participated in the Eco-Poetry Slam where students submitted poems about environmental action and issues. CMAP sponsored the Boldest Ideas Audience Choice Award. This year's winner was Kimberly Jones, a senior at Morgan Park High School, whose poem is called "Shrub Life."
Quarterly staff report. The CMAP staff progress report for the previous quarter is now on our website.
Green Practices for Local Governments: Energy Audits. On Wednesday, February 25, 2009, from 8:30 to 11:00, CMAP, in partnership with the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, will host a panel session on energy audits. More information is coming, so please mark your calendars to join us and hear panelists discuss why an energy audit is important, how it can be accomplished, resources available, and one community's experience. This is the first in a series of sessions on basic green practices to assist local government staff and elected officials in their efforts to reduce the impact of our activities on the environment. If you have questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (312) 386-8621.
Technical assistance opportunity. The Development, Community, and Environment Division in EPA's Office of Policy, Economics, and Innovation is seeking applications for technical assistance from communities that want to incorporate smart growth in their future development to meet environmental and other community goals. Eligible entities are tribal, local, regional, and state governments, and nonprofit organizations that have a demonstrated partnership with a governmental entity. Applications are due at 5:00 p.m. EST, April 23, 2009. Topics include climate change (both mitigation of and adaptation to), green job development, corridor redevelopment, green building development, suburban retrofitting, and disaster resiliency. Other topics for assistance are welcome if they demonstrate cutting-edge challenges and the possibility of replicable solutions. Selected communities or states will receive assistance in the form of a multi-day visit from a team of experts organized by EPA and other national partners to work with local leaders. EPA plans to assist three to five communities over a period of 12 months. Selected communities will probably be announced in fall 2009. For information and application materials, visit http://epa.gov/smartgrowth/2009_sgia_rfa.htm.
SPECIAL REMINDER. Don't forget to join CMAP's GO TO 2040 Partners Program! Please complete our simple partnership form. We'll send you a Partnership Kit with materials and a DVD to help you and your organization get involved in the region's first truly comprehensive plan. See our growing list of partners who have made the commitment to planning for a better future.