State budget. The General Assembly convened this week and passed a state budget that the Governor signed on Wednesday. From what we can tell, the state agencies are funded through reduced lump-sum appropriations. This budget is a stopgap measure, and when the General Assembly reconvenes, in January it will have to address the need for additional revenue sources or take other measures to address the growing state deficit.
Capital bill. On Monday, Governor Quinn signed into law the $31 billion capital bill that creates the new Illinois Jobs Now program.
NSP 2. Earlier this week, CMAP submitted a $78 million grant application to HUD for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2 (NSP2), as part of a regional consortium of local governments. Members of the Chicago Metropolitan Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2 Consortium (CMNSPC) include the municipalities of Aurora, Berwyn, Cicero, Elgin, and Joliet; the counties of Cook, DuPage, Kendall, Lake, and Will; and the Illinois Housing Development Authority. Additionally, the consortium includes Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago as a non-profit member. A copy of the full proposal can be found at www.cmap.illinois.gov/housing-assistance.
This interjurisdictional approach to NSP2 provides the opportunity to strategically stabilize and reconnect neighborhoods. At the same time, our consortium's regional strategy will create efficiencies and economies of scale when the program is implemented. Together, consortium members will be in a stronger position to leverage additional resources that will help contribute to the overall objectives of the NSP2 program -- stabilizing neighborhoods that have been severely impacted by foreclosures. A regional strategy also gives the consortium a platform to share information, exchange best practices, discuss needed trainings, leverage additional assistance and partnerships, and maximize impact. And just as HUD, DOT, and the EPA recently announced an interagency partnership to promote sustainable communities, our approach to NSP2 emulates these new federal priorities. For all these reasons and more, a regional approach was the right one for NSP2.
We want to thank our partners for recognizing NSP2 as a ground-breaking opportunity for regional collaboration. Their contribution to this multi-jurisdictional regional effort is in many ways unprecedented. The vision and dedication of partners like these led to a competitive proposal that we're very optimistic will bring more federal resources into participating communities across the region.
Metropolitan policy. This week, President Obama announced several major federal initiatives to advance a national metropolitan agenda, including the first comprehensive review in 30 years of how the federal government approaches and funds urban and metropolitan areas. This is an encouraging sign for our region and the work we have underway with the GO TO 2040 plan and the forthcoming implementation efforts.
Invent the Future workshops. After a brief July 4 lull, this past week our GO TO 2040 workshops went back into high gear at Sugar Grove, Avalon Park (Chicago), Lisle, and Riverside. If you missed any of those, next week you can join us in Elgin on July 17, Pullman (Chicago) on July 22, East Hazel Crest on July 23. The following week, we'll be at Rogers Park (Chicago) on July 28, the Active Transportation Alliance on July 29, West Chicago on July 29, Bartlett on July 30, and Tinley Park on July 30. Click here for the latest schedule. Registration is requested, but not required. You can register online, via email, or by calling Joey-Lin Silberhorn at 312-386-8814.
More Invent the Future. Please take a moment to share our YouTube workshop video with friends, family, and colleagues who might want to attend one of these fun events. And the same interactive tools are available for them to have their say about the region's priorities at www.goto2040.org. Recent coverage of our workshops has been in the Aurora Beacon News, the Elgin Courier News, the Daily Herald, the Chicago Tribune, the Riverside-Brookfield Landmark, and Chicago Now. Kiosk locations next week include Gail Borden Library in Elgin and Warren-Newport Library in Gurnee, along with the longer-term installations at Millennium Park and the Chicago Architecture Foundation. One of the kiosks just finished a two-week stint at Governors State University in Park Forest.
FLIP deadline extended. Know any teens interested in building a better future for our region? Sure, we all do. So take this opportunity to have a chat with one of those youngsters and send them an application to participate in CMAP's 2009-10 program for Future Leaders in Planning (FLIP). We will now be accepting them until August 31. For more, contact Andrew Williams-Clark (312-386-8770 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Facebook RSVP. If you're already one of the 126 fans of GO TO 2040 on our Facebook page, don't forget you can invite friends to our workshops listed under the Events tab. All of the July workshops are up in Facebook, and you're just a click away from sharing your enthusiasm for our Invent the Future phase! And if you're not a fan, what are you waiting for?
Draft greenways and trails plan. CMAP would like your input on the draft 2009 Update of the Northeastern Illinois Regional Greenways and Trails Plan. Originally completed in 1992 and updated in 1997, the plan envisions a network of continuous greenway and trail corridors, linked across jurisdictions, providing scenic beauty, natural habitat, and recreational and transportation opportunities for our communities. Please submit comments to Lori Heringa (312-386-8621 or email@example.com) by 5:00 p.m. central on Friday, July 24, 2009.
Environmental conference. Registration is now open for "Bringing Green Down to Earth," the 2009 Environmental Leadership Conference September 30, 2009, in Oak Brook. Local officials, business leaders and others can learn how to get environmental initiatives off the ground. Full of practical, useful ideas and advice, the conference is hosted by the University of Illinois Extension. Register by August 10 and save $25. Registration closes September 23. See http://web.extension.uiuc.edu/elc/ or call 630-445-3216.
Farmland event reminder. Don't forget to register for the University of Illinois Extensions' Conference on Agricultural Land Use Planning on August 6, 2009, at Oak Ridge Golf Club, 658 E. U.S. Hwy. 6, in LaSalle. Advance reservation is required (with payment of $48.50) by July 30.
In the blog. We have the first in a series of guest blog posts from friends and partner organizations with an entry on the Open Streets project by Active Transportation Alliance's Adolfo Hernandez. Shana Alford writes about food labels, childhood obesity, and community-oriented solutions. If you, or someone in your organization, are interested in contributing a guest blog post, please contact Anne Holub.
Willis Tower. Yesterday, the name change of Sears Tower became official. "Willis Tower" will take more than a little getting used to, but the new signs all over the building are going to be constant reminders.