On Nov. 6, 2007, MPC and its partners officially
commenced their Reconnecting
project to identify needed transit, retail and pedestrian improvements in
three Plan for Transformation communities.
More than 100 stakeholders and residents representing Chicago's Near North, Near West,
and Mid-South sides participated in the launch, which also drew representatives from the
Chicago departments of Transportation and Planning and Development,
Chicago Housing Authority, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Ill. Dept.
of Transportation, and RTA. A number of state and local elected
officials attended the half-day convening, including Ald. Toni Preckwinkle
(4th Ward), Ill. Sens. Kwame Raoul and Mattie Hunter, and Ill. Rep. Ken Dunkin.
Todd Brown, a member of MPC's Board of
Governors, who co-chairs Reconnecting
DPD Commissioner Arnold Randall, said the public and private sector involvement demonstrated at the
launch event is what's necessary to tackle the tough questions this project intends
“Some of you may be sitting here wondering why we should start such an
effort when we are in the middle of a funding crisis at both the state and the
local level, especially regarding our transit system," Brown said. "My answer
would be that funding problems are only symptomatic of deeper systemic
issues, there is no better time to reassess assets and resources than in a
crisis, and Reconnecting Neighborhoods is a step toward adjusting how we think
about the cost and management of transit, retail, urban development, public
“This Reconnecting Neighborhoods planning process will lead
to recommendations for specific improvement," explained Randall. "It will also
provide an opportunity for neighbors to meet each other – and with officials from
city and state agencies – to create a genuine consensus on how to
rebuild these neighborhoods around their strengths.”
The Partnership for New Communties, a project partner and
supporter, has prepared a summary of the Reconnecting Neighborhoods launch, available on
the PNC Web site.
The November 6th event was only the beginning of Reconnecting Neighborhoods.
Moving forward, MPC will be working closely with the residents, employers and
elected officials in the three neighborhoods to
develop recommendations for
transit, jobs and other essential
opportunities that reflect
their collective vision of what their neighborhoods can be.
To learn more about the Reconnecting Neighborhoods project, visit www.reconnectingneighborhoods.org.