April 2003 Media Tips - Metropolitan Planning Council

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April 2003 Media Tips

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Growing pains: Innovative technical assistance program helps community leaders confront critical development issues

The Urban Land Institute Chicago (ULI Chicago) and Campaign for Sensible Growth are partners in technical assistance panels that help local communities resolve development dilemmas.  On May 13, 2003, representatives from Richmond, Highwood and Hanover Park – which have recently completed panels -- will participate in a roundtable to examine the results of the program.  The ULI Chicago/Campaign panels bring together real estate, planning and development experts to provide unbiased, pragmatic advice on complex land use and development issues.  “Through this partnership, local governments gain access to sophisticated advice and experience,” says Campaign Manager Ellen Shubart.  “Our experts were able to provide ways to connect housing, transportation and community livability issues.  On the May 13, we will see how the panels’ sensible growth recommendations have guided local action.”

Panelists include the, Mayor Kevin Brusek of Richmond, Village Manager Marc Hummel of Hanover Park, and Paul Diambri, Highwood’s city attorney.  Jack Neal, managing director, Banc One Capital Markets, will moderate.

Since 2001, ULI Chicago and the Campaign have conducted technical assistance panels in Highland Park, Hanover Park, Humboldt Park, Chicago and Richmond.

Contact:  Ellen Shubart , Campaign for Sensible Growth Manager, 312.863.6009 

MPC plans to hold zoning workshops in Rogers Park, Southeast Chicago, Logan Square, North Lawndale and Humboldt Park.

The Mayor’s Zoning Reform Commission is midway through rewriting Chicago’s zoning ordinance, “building blocks” that will define the shape of Chicago’s future development. MPC remains encouraged by the initial progress, and is intensifying its outreach to ensure broad public input. MPC will provide technical assistance to five communities this year, so that each one is fully prepared to benefit from this critical phase of zoning reform. MPC plans to hold mapping workshops in Chicago’s 49th Ward (Rogers Park), 10th Ward (Southeast Chicago), 26th Ward (Humboldt Park), 35th Ward (Logan Square) and 24th Ward (North Lawndale).  Technical assistance from MPC will help aldermen and community groups identify assets and challenges in their communities that may be addressed through the zoning ordinance.  “Community investment in the mapping aspect of zoning reform is crucial for its success,” says Peter Skosey, MPC vice president of external relations. “It is the people who live in a neighborhood who best know what’s working and what’s not.  Our role is to help them negotiate the citywide mapping process so that their voices are heard by the city.”

 Contact:  Peter Skosey , Vice President of External Relations, 312.863.6004

MPC spring roundtables address key challenges facing our state: housing options, transit service and education funding.

This spring, MPC’s roundtable series is especially practical given the new administration in Springfield.  The first is on April 29.  Kelly King Dibble, executive director of Illinois Housing Development Authority and, U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) will talk about the challenges Illinois faces with affordable and mixed-income housing.

On May 2, Ill. Sen. Debbie Halvorson (D-Crete), Rhonda Reed of the Federal Transit Administration, Mark Fowler of Northwest Municipal Conference and Don DeGraff, president of the Village of South Holland, will discuss how the Southland and the greater region can be competitive for federal transportation funds.

Education funding in Illinois is the focus of the last spring roundtable on May 15.  Bindu Batchu, manager of Network 21: Quality Schools for Stronger Communities, will moderate a panel with Arne Duncan, CEO of Chicago Public Schools, District 300 Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Arndt, and Doug Hanson, a high school teacher and member of the Illinois Farm Bureau Education Funding Advisory Board Task Force.

MPC roundtables are exceptional opportunities to explore some of the critical issues facing the region and state.  They are lunchtime events that require reservations.  Cost is $10 for members and $25 for non-members.  There is no cost for media. To register, visit MPC on the Web at www.metroplanning.org/calendar.asp

Contact: Peter Skosey, Vice President of External Relations, 312.863.6004

U.S. Rep. Lipinski’s National Rail Infrastructure Fund builds on Business Leaders for Transportation recommendations

Freight tonnage is expected to grow 67 percent by 2020, and without significant federal investment, the national rail will not be able to handle that growth.  The result will be more traffic and congestion on the nation’s highways and a significant loss of jobs for northeastern Illinois. Recognizing the crisis and its far-reaching implications, U.S. Rep. William O. Lipinski (D-Ill.) has introduced bipartisan legislation that would help fund critical improvements to rail infrastructure and guarantee a predictable and stable funding source.  Business Leaders for Transportation is a member of RAIL (Rail Advocates for Infrastructure Legislation), a national coalition advocating for a national rail infrastructure program.  RAIL was created to lend business, labor and community support to this initiative.  The coalition continues to work closely with Rep. Lipinski to promote legislation that will ensure the revitalization and continued growth of the nation’s rail system.  “Without this legislation our rail system – for both both freight and commuters –  will not be able to meet demand,” says MarySue Barrett, president of Metropolitan Planning Council, “The work Business Leaders, RAIL, Rep. Lipinski and the railroad industry have done to identify solutions and a way to fund them is groundbreaking and absolutely necessary.”

Contact: Karyn Romano , Transportation Director, 312.863.6005

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For more than 80 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has made the Chicago region a better place to live and work by partnering with businesses, communities and governments to address the area's toughest planning and development challenges. MPC works to solve today's urgent problems while consistently thinking ahead to prepare the region for the needs of tomorrow. Read more about our work »

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