Posted on March 06, 2013 4:31 PM
CMAP Represented on New Millennium Reserve Steering Committee
On March 1, 2013, Governor Quinn issued an executive order to create a steering committee for the Millennium Reserve open space project that supports re-investment in ecology, economy, and community in the Calumet region of metropolitan Chicago. Part of the America's Great Outdoors federal initiative, it will create and enhance urban parks and green spaces, as well as renew and restore rivers for both natural resource and recreational values.
Millennium Reserve launched its Calumet Core phase in December 2011 to restore 15,000 acres of open space in Chicago and south suburban Cook County. The Burnham Gap trail aspects of this phase are supported by federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) funds totaling $3.162 million, part of more than $10 million in CMAQ grants allocated by CMAP for Millennium Reserve projects.
The executive order, EO-3-2013, establishes both a Millennium Reserve State Agency Task Force and a Millennium Reserve Steering Committee. Comprising the heads of various state agencies, the task force will inform and consider the priorities, specific actions, and initiatives of the steering committee. CMAP will be represented on the steering committee -- along with members from local, state, and federal governments and from non-profit environmental and outdoor recreation organizations -- which will serve as a central governing body responsible for the overall execution of the Millennium Reserve initiative.
Specifically, the steering committee will develop overall goals, objectives, and priorities for action in the Millennium Reserve area relative to environmental restoration and remediation, outdoor recreation, economic development, and community development. The executive order directs the steering committee to create short- and long-term work plans to facilitate these priorities. The steering committee will also identify specific projects of regional significance and recommend major policy initiatives that should be pursued by the State of Illinois and other partner organizations. It will also assist in seeking out resources for undertaking these priorities. The steering committee must provide a report to the Governor within six months of its first meeting and will issue reports every six months thereafter.
The vision of Millennium Reserve addresses recommendations in the Livable Communities chapter of GO TO 2040. Preserving natural areas, increasing access to parks, and building green connections are key to expanding and improving parks and open space in the region. In addition to funding of the Burnham Gap trail for the Calumet Core phase, CMAP has also supported other bicycle facilities in the Millennium Reserve:
- CMAQ funding of $4.5 million for Thorn Creek Trail, sponsored by the Cook County Forest Preserve District.
- CMAQ funding of $972,000 for Old Plank Road Trail extension, sponsored by the City of Chicago Heights.
- CMAQ funding of $2 million for aspects of Calumet Sag Trail, sponsored by Blue Island, Alsip, Palos Heights Park District, and the Cook County Forest Preserve District.