This week, my staff and I are busy preparing for the Metropolitan Planning Council’s 2010 Annual Luncheon, next Monday, June 21, at noon, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Through our emcee Lynn Sweet, the Sun-Times dynamo D.C. bureau chief, we will ask our speakers – Illinois’ U.S. Senate candidates Alexi Giannoulias (D) and Mark Kirk (R) – some tough questions about how they plan to improve Illinois’ economy, infrastructure and communities. We know you care about these issues as much as we do, so we hope you’ll join us for the luncheon; tickets are still available through Friday.
Though the Senate and Gubernatorial races are making news in 2010, this week’s story in Crain’s Chicago Business, “Daley by the Numbers,” included loads of statistics, anecdotes, and musings from civic group leaders including myself measuring the city’s progress on a host of indicators since Mayor Richard M. Daley took office 21 years ago. Reporters Greg Hinz and Steven Strahler’s assessment cited improvements to the city’s central business district, infrastructure, public schools, and public housing, as well as pointed out challenges Mayor Daley must overcome as he prepares to run for an unprecedented seventh term in office next year.
Many of these challenges are not the Mayor’s alone. They are not even Chicago’s alone. As Brookings’ recent State of Metropolitan America report pointed out, Chicago’s economy is regional in nature, supported by a vast network of roads, freight lines and public transit and powered by a workforce of millions. Our economy is only as good as the coordinated sum of its parts; as the Crain’s article implied, we cannot afford to leave any demographic or community behind. The tough work of keeping everyone moving forward together is what keeps MPC and its partners busy.
One of our closest partners is the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, which is leading development of GO TO 2040, the comprehensive regional plan that will guide growth in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will Counties. Last Friday, the draft GO TO 2040 comprehensive regional plan was posted on the GO TO 2040 web site, and it is now available for public comment through Aug. 6. Based on nearly three years of research, deliberation, and public input, the plan recommends action in four areas: Livable Communities, Regional Mobility, Human Capital, and Efficient Governance. In addition to commenting on GO TO 2040’s web site, you can also have your say by attending one of 10 open houses across the region this summer. The final GO TO 2040 plan will be presented to CMAP's Board and MPO Policy Committee for approval in October, when the plan's implementation phase … and more work for MPC … will begin.