Regional cooperation at work in south suburbs - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Regional cooperation at work in south suburbs

As part of the ongoing effort to address regional challenges and inequities, south suburban stakeholders are coming together around issues like transportation investment, education funding, property tax relief and regional and economic development. Big stakes. Big issues. Through cooperation and unity on key issues the Southland is working to get it done.

As part of the ongoing effort to address regional challenges and inequities, south suburban stakeholders are coming together around issues like transportation investment, education funding, property tax relief and regional and economic development.  Organizations are joining forces to advocate for sensible planning, and developing a unified vision for the south suburban region.  They are also working to change the perceptions of outsiders and better promote local communities. Though each stakeholder has his own agenda, the goal of enhancing the quality of life for area residents and building the framework that supports area businesses and community economic development brings them together.

Reports of the recent efforts of the Southland Legislative Caucus' success have been seen in every newspaper in the metropolitan region [see the Daily Southtown article " Half the battle won for rail in Southland "].  Caucus members have articulated the need to work together and speak with one voice. They are also working to ensure equitable levels of transportation investment and address other issues that continue to challenge the Southland.  Their efforts will affect the future of some 71 communities and more than 2 million people.

The Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), alongside the Chicago Southland Chamber, Chicago Southland Alliance, South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, enterprizCook County, Metro Southwest Alliance, Chicago Southland Development, Inc. and others, has been working to ensure adequate funding for schools (see "South suburban legislators take education reform effort on the road" in The Star ), support legislation that relieves property tax burdens and collaborate on economic development strategies. MPC coordinates the Economic Development Roundtable (EDR ), a forum for stakeholders to collaborate on efforts to revitalize existing communities and strengthen the area's overall competitiveness. EDR members have joined forces on several fronts including creating a database of community and economic development organizations, assessing the telecommunications needs of the region, communicating policy and program suggestions to the new Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO formerly DCCA) and more. EDR members, representing a number of south suburban organizations and area leaders, are committed to expanding economic opportunities and to working together as a team on critical issues (see "Roundtable enhances regional cooperation" in the Star ).

MPC continues to be involved in identifying regional priorities for transportation investment and — recognizing the need for unified action — has been advocating for a coordinated agenda for the 2003 federal reauthorization of the Transportation Equity Act for the Twenty-first Century (TEA-21) (see our related article TEA for 3). Because of recent highly publicized debates over projects, MPC will be co-sponsoring several upcoming events in the Southland: a briefing on the reauthorization of TEA-21 by Business Leaders for Transportation and a roundtable luncheon that looks at critical transit improvements in the region and what's at stake for local communities, the south suburbs, the Chicagoland region and the entire state.

Big stakes. Big issues.  Through regional cooperation and unity on key issues the Southland is working to get it done.

Related articles from south suburban newspapers:

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For more than 85 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has partnered with communities, businesses, and governments to unleash the greatness of the Chicago region. We believe that every neighborhood has promise, every community should be heard, and every person can thrive. To tackle the toughest urban planning and development challenges, we create collaborations that change perceptions, conversations—and the status quo. Read more about our work »

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