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Mayor Daley attracts record-breaking crowd to 2005 Annual Meeting Luncheon (UPDATED)

Mayor Richard M. Daley outlined the critical role Chicago plays in building a vibrant metropolitan region before a crowd of some 1,100 business, government and civic leaders at the Metropolitan Planning Council’s (MPC) 2005 Annual Meeting Luncheon, Oct. 26, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 E. Wacker Dr., Chicago.

For excerpts of the mayor's remarks, click here .

At the luncheon, the Council also celebrated the success of its two-year Bold Plans, Bright Future Campaign to fund an endowment and special program opportunities, as well as presented its 2005 Burnham Award for Excellence in Planning to the City of Waukegan .

Historically, MPC has delivered a crowd-pleasing program for guests of its Annual Meeting Luncheon, the Council’s sole fundraising event. This year’s luncheon – co-chaired by Frank M. Clark, president of ComEd, and William M. Daley, chairman of the Midwest region of JPMorgan Chase, and lead sponsored by Allstate, BNSF Railway, Bombardier, Inc., BP America, Chase, and ComEd, An Exelon Company – was no exception.

Mayor Daley addressed his priorities in the areas of housing, education, transportation, and the environment, and he shared his perspective on the current and future needs of the city and metropolitan Chicago . A longtime advocate for regional cooperation, the mayor noted that the barriers that once separated Chicago and the suburbs are rapidly coming down.

“Whether they live in Forest Park, Park Forest or Forest Glen, people want pretty much the same things: good schools, safe neighborhoods, affordable housing and convenient transportation,” said Mayor Daley. “They know that a strong metropolitan area requires a strong city at its core. And they want the leaders of business and government to work as partners – not opponents – to improve the quality of life for the entire region. I’m very impressed by our progress in regional cooperation over the last several years, and I’m confident it will continue under the leadership of the Metropolitan Planning Council.”

MPC President MarySue Barrett thanked the mayor for his leadership, noting that through efforts such as the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus – established by Mayor Daley as a partnership between Chicago and northeastern Illinois ’ 272 municipalities – the mayor has greatly enhanced the ability of local leaders to work together on key regional issues, such as housing, transportation, sensible growth and education. In turn, said Barrett, organizations that work on these issues, such as MPC, have been able to form new partnerships and expand their impact.

“In the past year, we’ve worked with communities as far south as Beecher and as far north as Round Lake Beach, and though each community is different, we all share basic concerns, such as ensuring quality schools and a range of housing and transportation options, and preserving our natural resources,“ said Barrett. “Today’s Annual Meeting Luncheon is a celebration of both our accomplishments and the individuals and organizations who have joined with us to identify better approaches to addressing these key regional issues.”

Indeed, according to John A. Buck, chairman and CEO of The John Buck Company and chair of MPC’s Board of Governors, and John S. Gates, Jr., co-chairman of CenterPoint Properties Trust and immediate past chair of MPC’s Board of Governors, the Council had much to celebrate. Prior to Mayor Daley’s presentation, the pair shared highlights from the past year, among them passage of the new federal transportation bill, which included an overall share increase for Illinois and funding for freight infrastructure improvements; a greatly expanded employer-assisted housing (EAH) program statewide, and Congress’ introduction of legislation that would provide federal support for EAH; and momentous progress made by the A+ Illinois coalition to advance the statewide movement for school funding reform and property tax relief.

Buck and Gates also raised a toast to the culmination of the Bold Plans, Bright Future Campaign, a two-year effort to raise $14.2 million to fund an endowment, support special program opportunities, and provide operating funds for 2003 and 2004. Anchored by an exceptional $4 million gift from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in 2001, the Campaign exceeded its goal, raising $14.365 million thanks to the generosity of its donors and the efforts of the MPC board and staff. A special video presentation, featuring individuals from across the region who spoke to how their partnership with MPC has helped advance affordable housing, transportation, sensible growth, and educating funding goals in the past year, served as a sincere “thank you” to all Campaign donors. (To download the video, click here). The Council also gave special recognition to Campaign co-chairs, including Buck and Gates, as well as Lester Crown, chairman of Material Service Corporation; M. Hill Hammock, chief operating officer of LaSalle Bank; Elmer Johnson, partner with Jenner & Block; Lee M. Mitchell, principal of Thoma Cressey Equity Partners; and George A. Ranney, president & CEO of Chicago Metropolis 2020. The Council also thanked its entire Board of Governors, whose members served as the campaign committee and pledged more than $2 million to the campaign.

Also at the meeting, the Council presented the 2005 Burnham Award for Excellence in Planning, which included a $5,000 cash prize, to the City of Waukegan for its Lakefront-Downtown Urban Design Plan . Waukegan’s 20-year master plan, adopted in 2003, sets forth a strategy for environmental remediation of a two-mile stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline, as well as the addition of parks and open space, thousands of new homes, and hundreds of thousands of square feet of retail, hospitality, entertainment, education and cultural facilities. Already, the city has taken significant steps toward realizing the plan’s goals, including obtaining financing to support brownfield clean up, re-energizing Waukegan ’s nightlife by reopening the Genesee Theater, and issuing design guidelines and requests for proposals to developers.

“With its Lakefront-Downtown Urban Design Plan , the City of Waukegan undertook a thoughtful, inclusive planning process to boldly envision the largest piece of vacant Lake Michigan lakefront between Chicago and Wisconsin as a recreational, residential and commercial ‘harbor city,’” said Barrett, who presented the Burnham Award to Waukegan’s Mayor Richard H. Hyde. “Big dreams are admirable; however, what earned Waukegan the 2005 Burnham Award for Excellence in Planning is that the city went a critical step further to guide the creation of a feasible, long-term plan for preserving, rehabilitating, and redeveloping this regional gem.”

At the annual meeting, the Council also welcomed new board members. Elected to the Board of Governors from the Resource Board are Joseph A. Gregoire, president, Chicagoland and Northern Illinois, National City Bank, and J. Stanley Pepper, managing director, Green Products. New members elected to the Board of Governors are Julie M. Howard, COO, Navigant Consulting, and Quintin E. Primo III, co-chairman and CEO, Capri Capital. And newly appointed to the Resource Board is Ricardo Estrada, executive director, Erie Neighborhood House.

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