CMAP Board chair Gerald Bennett, mayor of Palos Hills, looks ahead to State of the Region on October 7.
As mayor of Palos Hills for more than four decades, I not only firmly believe in regional cooperation; I’ve seen the results firsthand. The assets that make my community a great place to live and work — from Moraine Valley Community College to Bennett Park — provide benefits to our entire region, and vice versa.
For a more prosperous northeastern Illinois, we must collaborate across city and county lines. That’s why I’m proud to serve as chair of the Board of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), made up of leaders from across Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will counties.
The latest census numbers show our region grew over the last decade and now includes nearly 8.6 million residents; our Board is passionate about improving quality of life for all of them. And that’s why I’m looking forward to CMAP’s inaugural State of the Region event on October 7. State of the Region is an opportunity to explore our progress toward achieving the goals of the ON TO 2050 plan.
During the state of the region address, delivered by executive director Erin Aleman, we’ll learn the results of CMAP’s new public opinion survey. The survey, which included more than 2,000 respondents across the region, will help us better understand residents’ attitudes on fundamental quality-of-life issues — transportation, open space, and more. The findings will help identify our biggest assets and our most pressing challenges, particularly after more than a year and a half of COVID-19.
How we recover from the pandemic — and how we create a more inclusive economy — will also be the focus of the event’s keynote address. Dr. Suzet McKinney, principal and director of life sciences at Sterling Bay, will discuss how the life sciences can provide good-paying jobs and help build back the regional economy.
And finally, I’m looking forward to honoring our successes. State of the Region will include a ceremony for the winners of CMAP’s 2021 Regional Excellence Awards. I’m eager to meet the local leaders, community groups, and advocates that have made northeastern Illinois a better place for everyone.
State of the Region will be an annual event, and I know we’ll have much more to celebrate in the years to come.
— Mayor Gerald Bennett