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Reconnecting Neighborhoods kicks off in communities

Reconnecting Neighborhoods is a new planning initiative that invites residents of three Chicago mixed-income neighborhoods to help shape the future of their communities. The project will result in recommendations for enhanced transit services, retail, and improved public infrastructure in Near North, Near West and Mid-South neighborhoods.

Already these communities possess tremendous assets – proximity to downtown, solid infrastructure, and an active, burgeoning residential population, to name a few. By enhancing transit connections and access, these neighborhoods will spur growth from within, as well as “reconnect with other Chicago communities.

The project is being led by the City of Chicago Dept. of Planning and Development, with support from the Regional Transportation Authority. HNTB, a planning firm, is handling the project’s technical work and research. Metropolitan Planning Council’s role is to encourage strong and diverse community involvement, including residents, business owners, local civic leaders, investors, and other key community stakeholders.

“Chicago’s tremendous progress in the last few decades is no accident. It is the product of its citizens’ industry,” said Brandon Johnson, MPC’s Reconnecting Neighborhoods manager. “Reconnecting Neighborhoods is an opportunity for people to shape the city’s transition, and to influence the City of Chicago ’s and Regional Transportation Authority’s planning processes through greater community leadership and involvement.”

Through a series of interactive planning sessions in each community, Reconnecting Neighborhoods already has begun to solicit and document community input on existing plans and developments. These initial public meetings are critical to developing a common point of departure, so that everyone involved – from local stakeholders to government agencies – can move forward with the next step in this year-long process: developing preliminary recommendations.

Participation at these community meetings has been encouraging, and Reconnecting Neighborhoods will engage many more people in the next several months. Please join us in our efforts. Visit the Reconnecting Neighborhoods Web site , where you can review your neighborhood’s inventory report, check the schedule of upcoming meetings, fill out a community questionnaire , comment on the blog , and sign up for e-mail updates .

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