NGA Smart Growth Report Released; "Illinois Tomorrow" Highlighted
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 7, 2000
SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan said today that a new, national report on state efforts to address growth issues highlights his "Illinois Tomorrow" initiative as a prime example of what state government can accomplish in the area of balanced and sensible growth.
The report, entitled "Growing Pains: Quality of Life in the New Economy" was released by the National Governors' Association's Center for Best Practices.
"A growing economy brings many benefits -- more and better jobs, higher wages, and a better quality of life. Growth also brings with it some challenges, among them those faced by local governments as they struggle with land use, traffic, and redevelopment problems that threaten the quality of life of every Illinoisan," Ryan said. "With the Illinois Tomorrow initiative, we will be able to provide municipalities with the tools they need to encourage the creation, expansion, and restoration of livable communities."
The report points to Governor Ryan's Illinois Tomorrow as an example of state efforts to coordinate their agency activities in a way that is helpful to local decision making.
Illinois Tomorrow is a balanced growth initiative that is a voluntary, positive incentive based approach to planning and growth, which focuses on state programs that invest in existing communities by improving job opportunities, infrastructure and quality of life for residents of these communities. The initiative focuses on state assistance for local projects and partnerships with local governments.
Illinois Tomorrow is based on five core balanced growth principles:
* Reducing Traffic Congestion
* Preservation of Open Space
* Reinvestment and Redevelopment
* Quality of Life
* Local Government Partnership
Working together with Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley's Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, Illinois Tomorrow is a response to disturbing statistics that show that Illinois is faced with vanishing open spaces, loss of agricultural land, decaying urban infrastructure, increased traffic congestion, and a reduction in the quality of life in many communities.
"Achieving balanced growth between oftentimes competing interests of economic development and environmental preservation requires careful planning, and a good deal of teamwork by state and local officials," Ryan said.
Illinois Tomorrow is a response to disturbing statistics that show that Illinois is faced with vanishing open spaces, loss of agricultural land, decaying urban infrastructure, increased traffic congestion, and a reduction in the quality of life in many communities.
The NGA report also highlighted Governor Ryan's new Balanced Growth Cabinet. Members of the Cabinet include the Secretary of Department of Transportation and the directors of the department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Agency, Agriculture, Commerce and Community Affairs, the Illinois Development Finance Authority and the Illinois Housing Development Authority.
The Cabinet will integrate their expertise and work together to coordinate key decisions impacting growth and development in Illinois. They will evaluate existing state programs to ensure that those programs are working the way they should.
The Balanced Growth Cabinet will have the authority to recommend additions or changes to state programs to make those initiatives more effective in achieving balanced growth.
"If we do not take action, these problems will only worsen, resulting in the loss of irreplaceable natural resources, damage to our economic competitiveness, and an erosion of the quality of life we enjoy in this great state," Ryan added.