Thirty-four new projects will help metropolitan Chicago communities to develop and implement effective local plans
Sixth round of Local Technical Assistance projects will support individual communities and help create a more resilient and prosperous region
CHICAGO, October 19, 2017 -- The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) board has approved 34 new projects to help local governments, nonprofits, and intergovernmental collaborators address issues at the intersections of transportation, land use, and quality of life.
The new activities will be supported by CMAP's Local Technical Assistance (LTA) program, which has undertaken more than 200 projects since 2012 to help the region's communities plan for increased livability, sustainability, and economic vitality.
"The LTA program has a strong record of success in helping communities to create and implement their own plans," said CMAP Executive Director Joseph C. Szabo. "We are excited to work with a new group of municipalities, partners, and stakeholders to fulfill local and regional goals of improving quality of life and economic prosperity for all."
This year, CMAP staff recommended proposals that align with GO TO 2040 and ongoing work toward ON TO 2050, the region's next comprehensive plan that is scheduled for adoption in October 2018. The agency also selected projects that focus on implementing previous LTA plans, collaborating across multiple jurisdictions, and/or planning in communities with the highest need for assistance.
Collaboration across jurisdictions
As public resources become increasingly constrained, CMAP anticipates a greater need to plan across municipal boundaries.
Several of the plans approved as part of the 2017 LTA Program are multi-jurisdictional plans that bring communities together to work toward collaborative goals. For example, a project approved in Beach Park, in partnership with North Chicago, Waukegan, Winthrop Harbor, Zion, and Lake County, will focus on trail connections and lakefront access along Lake Michigan.
"This project will finally help to formalize not only Beach Park's vision for bike plans, but also those plans from neighboring communities, and how they all fit together to best serve our shared users," said Beach Park Mayor John Hucker.
Village Administrator Jon Kindseth added that the highly collaborative project will have broad benefits. "This Regional Bike Plan has been important to our communities for many years, and we are optimistic that this may be the final push it needs to become a reality not only for our area residents, but for the region as a whole. In an environment of increasing competition among each other, cooperation among governments such as this are becoming increasingly important, and we are pleased that CMAP agrees."
Other multi-jurisdictional projects will include:
- A planning priorities report for the communities of Bridgeport and Canaryville that promotes sustainability business, retail, and economic development, strengthens local educational and cultural institutions, and builds on area assets.
- An updated subregional bicycle plan for the Northwest Municipal Conference.
- A feasibility study for a southern extension of the Des Plaines River Trail with the Forest Preserves of Cook County.
- A study of improvements to the I&M Trail with Justice, Bedford Park, and Summit.
- The development of a regional bicycle and pedestrian program to be called the Regional Active Mobility Program (RAMP) with Aurora, Algonquin, Elgin, McHenry, Naperville, and South Elgin.
- A shared services study with Oswego, Montgomery, and Yorkville to find a governance structure for a shared water treatment plant to help those communities reduce their reliance on groundwater.
- A land use sub-area plan along the Route 31 corridor between the villages of Algonquin and Cary.
- A collaboration between the City of Chicago and Village of Oak Park to create an economic development plan for the North Avenue corridor.
- A shared services plan for the McHenry County Council of Governments to streamline intergovernmental cooperation, increase efficiencies, and expand better and reliable services to residents.
In line with ON TO 2050's focus on inclusive growth, LTA emphasizes the importance of assistance for communities that -- due to limited resources -- would not otherwise have the ability to undertake such projects. Nearly 75 percent of the program's resources this year are devoted to higher-need communities, which are determined based on median income, local tax base, and size.
A new project in Robbins exemplifies this priority. In collaboration with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, the project will address flooding along Midlothian Creek, remove approximately 140 acres from the floodplain through proposed stormwater solutions, and free that area for potential transit-oriented development.
Other projects that will address communities with higher need for local planning assistance include:
- An economic growth plan for the South Suburbs sponsored by the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development.
- Comprehensive plans in Beecher, Calumet Park, and Sauk Village.
- A capital improvement plan for stormwater management in Midlothian.
- A parking management study for Chinatown.
- Transit-oriented development and economic development planning in Belmont-Cragin.
- A neighborhood plan for McKinley Park to craft development guidelines to focus on transit-oriented development, job creation, enhanced walkability, ongoing affordability, and services and amenities to the neighborhood.
- A market analysis for the Roseland Medical District.
- A planning priorities report for the Illinois International Port District.
About the LTA program
CMAP established the LTA program shortly after GO TO 2040's adoption in October 2010 with a $4.25 million U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant, which expired in January 2014. Since then, the program has been supported by the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Economic Development Administration, Illinois Attorney General, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, The Chicago Community Trust, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and Cook County.
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) is our region's comprehensive planning organization. The agency and its partners are developing ON TO 2050, a new comprehensive regional plan to help the seven counties and 284 communities of northeastern Illinois implement strategies that address transportation, housing, economic development, open space, the environment, and other quality-of-life issues. See www.cmap.illinois.gov for more information.