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Small Plans, Big Ideas Forum Series

ON TO 2050 Forum Series

Join the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) for a series of events that will connect local leaders and provide expert advice about how ON TO 2050 -- the region's new comprehensive plan -- can make a difference in your community.

Each event will help you make meaningful connections with other communities and collaborate on some of our region’s toughest issues. A resource fair with opportunities and educational materials from CMAP's local and regional partners will also be available at each event. The Small Plans, Big Ideas event series will coincide with the 2019 joint call for projects for the CMAP Local Technical Assistance (LTA) and Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) Community Planning programs.

Contact or 312-386-8802 with questions or to request reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

Register today, and check back for more information on each event. For newletter and social media content to help share this event series, please visit our partner toolkits or download an event flyer.

Harnessing technology for a safer future

Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Waubonsee Community College - Downtown Campus
18 S. River St., Aurora
3:00 to 6:00 p.m.


How can municipalities in the Chicago region best approach technology changes, responsibly share data, and leverage the research and innovation services CMAP offers to help their communities prosper, improve safety, and bolster inclusive growth?

Panelists will include:

Vig Krishnamurthy: As Chief Operations Analyst for the Chicago Public Library, Vig spearheads analytics, evaluation, and reporting activities at CPL that enable innovations and improvements to patron service. Previously, he worked as a consultant assisting communities to create their transportation road maps -- including the 2018-2023 Regional Transit Strategic Plan -- and he oversaw mobility pilot projects as a regional manager at Ford Mobility.

Michael Pegues: As Chief Information Officer for the City of Aurora, Pegues has led implementation of the city's expanding fiber optic network and a smart water meter system. He also developed the city's Technology Strategic Plan -- Smart Aurora -- which recommends improvements such as an online public record request and bill payment portal and a five-year plan to improve the way the city uses analytics to make decisions. Read more about Pegues in the Aurora Beacon-News.

Joe Gallo: Elected Mayor of the City of Rolling Meadows in April 2019, Gallo is a co-founder of the Illinois Smart City and Region Association and a founding member of the Illinois Autonomous Vehicles Association He has also worked to outfit the Rolling Meadows fire department fleet with new technology that improved response time, applied for grants on behalf of the city, and more. Read about Gallo in a profile from the Daily Herald.

Josh Sikich: As Transportation Technology Program Manager at HDR, an architectural, engineering, and consulting firm, Sikich assists government agencies nationwide to strategically plan for the future. Previously he worked as the manager of the Central Ohio Transit Authority Transit System Redesign project that overhauled bus transit service connecting thousands of residents to jobs in the Columbus area and successfully increasing ridership. His work focuses on future-proofing tomorrow’s cities for emerging technologies.

Elizabeth Irvin: Elizabeth directs the Center for Neighborhood Technology, CNT's, transportation program, advocating for diverse mobility options that improve the equity, affordability, and sustainability of our transportation system. Before joining CNT, Elizabeth worked at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. She previously worked on regional and national transportation and environmental policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Sierra Club. Elizabeth has a Master of City Planning degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Music from Williams College.

Focusing your plan for real results

Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Joliet Historical Museum
204 N. Ottawa St., Joliet
3:00 to 6:00 p.m.


Planning at a smaller scale -- such as a neighborhood, corridor, or downtown area -- can deliver real benefits for communities. Hear from a panel of your peers who have completed sub-area plans that made a big difference for their residents about how they got it done.

Panelists will include:

Mike Schwarz, AICP, Planning Director, City of Joliet. Schwarz manages long-range planning and development review for a quickly developing city of nearly 150,000 residents. He was the project manager for the Chicago Street Corridor Plan, which was supported by the CMAP Local Technical Assistance program.

Julio Rodriguez, Executive Director, Northwest Side Community Development Corporation. Rodriguez worked to develop, and now implement, the Belmont Cragin Quality of Life Plan, which was completed in 2016 with support from LISC.

Paul Hoss, Planning and Zoning Administration Coordinator, DuPage County. Hoss has worked to support corridor planning initiatives throughout DuPage County including the Route 83 Corridor Plan, supported by the CMAP Local Technical Assistance Program.

Bill Cooney, Director of Community Development, Village of Mount Prospect. Cooney has worked to support several planning efforts in Mount Prospect over his more than 25 years with the village including a comprehensive plan update in 2017 and a South Mount Prospect Subarea Plan in 2019.

Lesley Roth, AICP, Associate Principal, Director of Urban Planning, Ratio Architects. Roth has spent 15 years in project management, design, and direction on a variety of architecture and planning projects in the Chicago region with an emphasis on public engagement, livable communities and sustainable design.


Making it happen -- from plan to project

Tuesday, October 1, 2019
Greenbelt Cultural Center
1215 Green Bay Rd., North Chicago
3:00 to 6:00 p.m.


Accessing funding for local infrastructure investments can seem like a confusing maze, but planning ahead can mean real dollars for your community. Hear from a panel of experts about how to prioritize your plan recommendations for funding and implementation and get hands-on advice for your grant program applications.

Panelists will include:

Erin Aleman, CMAP Executive Director. Before being appointed to lead CMAP in June 2019, Aleman was Vice President at Metro Strategies, a policy and advocacy consulting firm, and previously worked as Director of the Office of Planning and Programming at the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Sarah Coulter, Executive Director, Calumet Collaborative. Coulter has more than 12 years of experience in economic development and community building through sustainable practices and principles including three years as south suburban Village of Park Forest’s sustainability coordinator.

Tomohiko (Tomo) Music, Senior Planner, Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways. Music led the Department’s the creation and rollout the Invest in Cook transportation grant program and projects related to implementation of Connecting Cook County, the county’s first Long Range Transportation Plan in more than 70 years.

Mike Warner, Executive Director, Lake County Stormwater Management Commission.


Planning for an equitable water future

Thursday, October 3, 2019
CalComm Regional 911 Center
12419 S. Ashland Ave., Calumet Park
3:00 to 6:00 p.m.


Clean, affordable, abundant water is key to our health, prosperity, and quality of life, but parts of the region are experiencing increased flooding and water quality concerns. Water can be an asset providing recreational and economic opportunities to communities, but for many it can be a devastating burden. Hear from a panel of experts about planning for an integrated approach to water across municipal boundaries.

Panelists will include:

Nora Beck, CMAP Senior Planner. Beck has led the agency's water planning initiatives including the development of the Regional Flood Susceptibility Index and ON TO 2050 Regional Water Demand Forecast.

Eric Neagu, PE, LEED AP, AICP, Founding principal at the Antero Group. Neagu has more than 20 years of experience with public and private clients on civil engineering, urban planning, and economic development for Antero Group, which has worked on projects in Blue Island, Ford Heights, Midlothian, and Calumet Park, among others.

Mollie Dowling, Executive Director of OAI Inc. Dowling leads, OAI in its workforce development initiatives that lead to safe, meaningful employment and help companies and communities to thrive. OAI offers services in the south suburbs that provide access to jobs that strengthen communities, such as installing green infrastructure that alleviates flooding and beautifies neighborhoods at the same time.

Kim Du Buclet, Commissioner, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago board. Du Buclet worked as the Director of Legislative and Community Affairs for the Chicago Park District and served one term in the Illinois State House of Representatives. 

Caroline Pakenham, Water Program Manager at Elevate Energy. Pakenham leads Elevate Energy’s water safety, affordability, and efficiency initiatives, including lead testing training and services and research into water affordability issues in the region. She also oversees Elevate Energy’s efforts to address water-related issues that increase the cost of operating and maintaining affordable and healthy housing.

Benefiting from a changing economy

Tuesday, October 8, 2019
Gail Borden Public Library 
270 N. Grove Ave., Elgin
3:00 to 6:00 p.m.


As our economy changes, communities need to prepare for new trends in land use. Hear from a panel of experts how your municipality can stop competing with neighbors, start sharing benefits, and explore new opportunities to capitalize on an economy in transition.

Panelists will include:

Ranadip Bose, AICP, Senior Vice President at SB Friedman Development Advisors. Bose has deep expertise in real estate market analysis and urban economic development strategy for SB Friedman and has worked with municipalities across the region on feasibility studies, financial analysis, and implementation strategies.

Dionne Baux, Director of Urban Programs, Main Street America. As Director of Urban Programs, Baux leads the initiative to broaden offerings and engagement in urban neighborhood commercial districts. She has over a decade of experience in project coordination in the fields of urban economic development and commercial district revitalization. She previously worked as Senior Program Officer for Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and serves on CMAP's Economic Development Committee

Kevin Kramer, Director of Economic Development, Village of Hoffman Estates. Kramer works on business retention, business attraction, and tourism in Northwest suburban Hoffman Estates, which in recent years has experienced the changing economy firsthand with shifts to major office campuses in the village including Sears and AT&T.

Emi Adachi, Deputy Director of North American Investment Research at Heitman. Adachi researches property market, macroeconomic and capital market trends to shape investment strategies and support private equity and debt activity on behalf of public pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, and other institutional investors. She also analyzes demographic and technological trends and their impact on real estate investment strategy and portfolio construction.


ON TO 2050 Symposium

Thursday, October 10, 2019
Conference Chicago at University Center
525 S. State St., Chicago
10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Attend an all-day symposium with your peers to learn from communities like yours who have had success making and implementing local plans. In addition to learning about potential technical assistance opportunities, attendees will have the chance to discuss best practices with past award recipients and get one-on-one input on the application process for the 2019 joint call for projects for the CMAP Local Technical Assistance (LTA) and Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) Community Planning programs.

Registration costs $30 and includes lunch. The day will also include a "Planning with your neighbors" facilitated networking session to encourage multijurisdictional planning, a resource fair with educational and technical assistance opportunities from our partners, and a lunchtime conversation hosted by CMAP Executive Director Erin Aleman. Need-based waivers or discounts will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Event Schedule

10:00 a.m. - Registration begins

10:30 a.m. to noon - Break out sessions

Achieving TOD without displacement: Learn more about implementing Equitable Transit Oriented Development, or eTOD, to ensure transit infrastructure investments remain inclusive by enhancing opportunities for affordable housing, employment, and small business support. AICP CM credits will be available for attending this session. Panelists include:

Thomas Applegate, Executive Director, North River Commission

Drew Awsumb, Deputy Director of Community Development, City of Highland Park

Eiliesh Tuffy, Coordinating Planner, Department of Planning & Development, City of Chicago

Jacky Grimshaw, Vice President, Center for Neighborhood Technology

Roberto Requejo, Program Director, Elevated Chicago

Rightsizing parking in your community: Empty parking spaces can mean diminished neighborhood affordability. Learn strategies to right-size parking and dispel assumptions and myths about parking demand. Panelists include:

Lindsay Bayley, Senior Planner, CMAP

Rory Fancler, Planner, Kimley Horn

Debbie Liu, Community Engagement Associate, Metropolitan Planning Council

Emily Egan, Assistant City Planner, City of Elmhurst

Finding equitable solutions to build climate resilience: CMAP research shows that in our region the effects of climate change, which lead to increased urban flooding, disproportionately affects lower-income communities. Hear from a panel of experts about effective outreach, education, and empowerment strategies for communities most affected including:

Marcella Bondie Keenan, Director of RainReady, Center for Neighborhood Technology

Michael Berkshire, Green Projects Administrator, Department of Planning and Development, City of Chicago

Richard Fisher, Principal Civil Engineer, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Nora Beck and Brian Daly, Senior Planners, CMAP

Noon to 1:30 p.m. - Lunch will be provided Lunchtime conversation between CMAP Executive Director Erin Aleman and Juan Carlos Linares, Chief Engagement Officer, City of Chicago

1:30 to 3:00 p.m. - Break out sessions

How can technology improve public safety?: Learn how emerging technologies can help your community plan for disasters, reduce response times for emergency vehicles, communicate better with the public in times of emergency, and more. AICP CM credits will be available for attending this session. Panelists include:

Katie Freeman, Director of Operations, Hagerty Consulting

Hillary Beata, Digital Services Specialist, City of Evanston

Dr. Christina Harrington, Assistant Professor, DePaul University

Lauren Neill, Senior Siting Advocacy Manager, T-Mobile

Heidy Persaud, Associate Planner, CMAP

Future-proofing commercial districts: As our economy faces an unknown future, hear from experts about how to support commercial corridors struggling with vacancies with strategies focused on supporting existing business owners, inviting new opportunity, connecting to transit, and creating quality jobs for all residents. Panelists include:

James Harbin, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Planning & Development, City of Chicago

Jennifer Tammen, Senior Manager, Ernst & Young

Abraham Lacy, Executive Director, Far South Community Development Corporation

Austen Edwards, Senior Policy Analyst, CMAP

Aspiration to implementation: Once a plan is complete the first question is "How will this get done?" Learn how your community can get local infrastructure investments in the pipeline for funding and prioritize the best projects that will have the most benefit for all residents. 

Lydia Collins, Development Associate, IFF

Kyle Wong, Senior Financial Analyst, IFF

Julio Rodriguez, Executive Director, Northwest Side Community Development Corporation

Michael Horsting, Manager Local Planning, Regional Transportation Authority

Bob Dean, CEO, Center for Neighborhood Technology

Tony Manno, Senior Planner, CMAP

3:00 to 4:30 p.m. - Planning with your Neighbors and Resource Fair  


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