March Media Tips - Metropolitan Planning Council

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March Media Tips

A+ Illinois Encourages State Senators to Support School Funding Reform Bill

The A+ Illinois campaign for statewide school funding reform is asking voters to visit the A+ Illinois Web site to send letters to their state senators encouraging them to sign on to the growing list of sponsors for Senate Bill 2288. The bill provides a new, permanent revenue source for Illinois public schools and property tax relief for homeowners.

The Illinois Senate Education Committee recently approved SB 2288, “a great start toward a comprehensive solution to Illinois’ school quality and funding crises,” according to A+ Illinois. The bill would raise the state’s minimum per-pupil spending amount to $6,974 by 2012, bump up special education funding, expand investments in early-childhood learning programs, and maintain and expand grants for high-poverty schools. The bill also would stabilize Illinois’ long-term fiscal health by raising the individual income tax from 3 to 5 percent, and the corporate income tax from 4.8 to 8 percent; and by providing a refundable low-income tax credit to protect working families.

For more information on SB 2288, or to learn more about what A+ Illinois is doing this session to advocate for reform, please contact Clare Fauke, A+ Illinois communications director, at or 312.516.5576.

Near North Residents Invited to Speak out on Transit, Retail at March 26 Meeting

The Clybourn corridor between North and Ashland avenues has adapted from a manufacturing hub to a diverse and bustling commercial center. Meanwhile, residential development in the neighborhood continues, including Parkside of Old Town, one of several new mixed-income communities created by the Chicago Housing Authority’s Plan for Transformation. The need for transportation to evolve along with residential and commercial development is painfully clear to anyone who travels to the area – whether to shop on a sunny Saturday afternoon or to deliver the goods beckoning shoppers.

The Near North Task Force of Reconnecting Neighborhoods , a new community development initiative, invites community members to a public meeting on Wednesday, March 26, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., at Evergreen Towers Apartments, 1333 N. Cleveland Ave., Chicago, to:

  • Voice their opinions about how to make their neighborhood more convenient and vibrant.
  • Plan improvements that will increase access to transportation, shopping and jobs.
  • Learn more about transportation and retail amenities in the Near North, Old Town , Goose Island , River North, and former Cabrini Green neighborhoods.

This is the first community meeting on the Near North Side for Reconnecting Neighborhoods, which will invite residents of three Chicago mixed-income neighborhoods to participate in the planning for 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. The project is being led by the City of Chicago Dept. of Planning and Development, with support from the Regional Transportation Authority and MPC. HNTB, a planning firm, will handle the project’s technical work and research.

For more information, contact MPC Reconnecting Neighborhoods Manager Brandon Johnson, 312-863-6046 or . Visit  the Reconnecting Neighborhoods Web site  for data on your community, and to read the Reconnecting Neighborhoods blog.

New Joliet Community Development Corporation Breathing Life into Plan

A new community development corporation has formed in Joliet, Ill., to help coordinate and secure funding for a community redevelopment plan created by local residents and other stakeholders in the city’s 4 th and 5 th districts. These neighborhoods have weathered economic challenges even as Joliet consistently ranks among the nation’s fastest growing cities.

The Unity Community Development Corporation (UCDC) will breathe life into the Joliet Quality of Life Plan, which the city adopted in November 2007. The plan – a joint effort by residents, local stakeholders, and city leaders, with support from MPC, Center for Neighborhood Technology, and consultants – sets forth a community redevelopment strategy. Recommendations address housing, transportation, retail and industrial development, education, and more. To learn about the plan or UCDC, contact Joanna Trotter , manager of MPC’s Community Building Initiative, at 312-863-6008, or .

Learn more by contacting Mandy Burrell Booth, MPC assistant communications director, at 312-863-6018 or , or by visiting the MPC Web site .

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