February 2003 Media Tips - Metropolitan Planning Council

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February 2003 Media Tips

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City Plans and Visions
MPC co-sponsors exhibit and panel discussion on zoning initiatives and planning in Chicago

MPC is collaborating with the Chicago Architecture Foundation on a two-month exhibition that will explore the influences good design and sound planning could have on Chicago's future.  Three architecture firms have taken aspects of the Central Area Plan for downtown Chicago, the zoning ordinance rewrite and Chicago Metropolis 2020's regional plan and designed visionary concepts for how they might be expressed. 

Among events that complement the "Invisible City:  Planning for Chicago's Future" exhibition, is a panel on zoning and planning moderated by MPC Vice President of External Affairs Peter Skosey. Other speakers will be Jacky Grimshaw, vice president for policy, Center for Neighborhood Technology; Martin Jaffe, J.D., professor, University of Illinois Chicago; and Barbara Lawrence, executive director, New Jersey Future. 

The panel is on Thursday, March 6 at 6 p.m., at the ArchiCenter Lecture Hall, 224 S. Michigan Ave.  Refreshments will be served at 5:30 p.m. For reservations, call 312.922.3432, ext. 909.

Contact:  Peter Skosey, Vice President of External Relations
312.863.6004

Network 21: Quality Schools for Stronger Communities holds town hall meetings to encourage local education reform efforts

How do residents know that their property tax increases will really help improve local schools?  How can districts maintain control if the state changes the way it pays for education?  These were among the questions put to legislators and community representatives in Chicago Heights on Feb. 10, 2003.  The town hall meeting was the first of several initiated by Network 21 to bring together community, business, legislative and education leaders to discuss the future of education in Illinois.
 
The meetings will increase public involvement in Network 21's agenda to reform education funding and ensure that every child in Illinois receives an adequate education.  Future meetings are being planned for Peoria and Elgin.

Contact:  Bindu Batchu, Network 21 Manager
312.863.6014

Second round of Regional Housing Initiative announced
Unused vouchers provide incentives to affordable housing developers

The Regional Housing Initiative (RHI), an innovative idea for expanding rental options for the region's lowest income families, is turning local housing authorities' unused Housing Choice Vouchers into new apartments.  RHI pools vouchers from the Chicago, Cook County and Lake County housing authorities as financing incentives to developers whose proposals apply sound planning principals to create diverse communities in the sponsoring counties.  MPC is working with the Illinois Housing Development Authority to run the program. 

RHI hit the ground running in the last round in December, providing for 25 new units of affordable housing to be developed.  Subsidies in this pilot phase will fund a total of 328 apartments within mixed-income communities. 

The application deadline for the next round is March 7, 2003.  Developers are encouraged to visit MPC's Web site for information and an application.

Contact: Robin Snyderman, Housing Director
312.863.6007

MPC seeks nominations for 2003 Burnham Award

The Metropolitan Planning Council is soliciting nominations for its 2003 Burnham Award for Excellence in Planning, which honors projects or plans that promote sound public policies and planning procedures. The award carries a $5,000 cash prize.

All are encouraged to apply, including those who have applied in the past. This award is largely targeted toward projects that are completed, or have demonstrated promise over time.  Last year, the Burnham Award honored Will County's Land Resource Management Plan. 

Nominations must be submitted by March 3, 2003. A committee of MPC board members and other volunteers from around the six-county metropolitan region will select the winner.

The Burnham Award will be presented at MPC's Annual Meeting Luncheon this spring. 

Contact: Peter Skosey, Vice President of External Affairs
312.863.6004

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