SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced $723,826 in research and planning grants to 14 local groups to assist the state in its balanced growth objectives under the administration’s Illinois Tomorrow initiative.
“Decaying urban infrastructure, traffic congestion and a lack of open space can reduce the quality of life in our existing communities,” Gov. Ryan said. “Illinois Tomorrow is designed to lead our state into a new era of balanced growth. These grants enable the state to partner with local governments, planning commissions, and citizens to facilitate balanced growth and improve the quality of life in their communities.”
Developed in consultation with the Governor’s Balanced Growth Cabinet, the Balanced Growth Capacity Building Program is a new competitive grant program designed to fund projects that will have a positive local or regional impact, and also generate reports and methodologies that can be utilized by other communities. The Balanced Growth Capacity Building Program grants are administered by the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs (DCCA).
“Without balanced growth, we face a real threat to our state’s future economic competitiveness,” said DCCA Director Pam McDonough. “By focusing on capacity building – projects that inform, educate and empower – this program helps not only the grantees, but also other communities and regions across Illinois facing similar growth management issues. The information resources developed under the program will be disseminated broadly throughout the state, ensuring that the knowledge gained on one project has the potential to benefit multiple stakeholders in an effective, efficient manner.”
A complete listing of grantees and project descriptions follows.
Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs
Balanced Growth Capacity Building Grants Grantees and Project Descriptions
South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association - $40,000
This project will use a number of actual open space demonstration projects to show how wetland and prairie restoration of retention/detention ponds and streambanks can reduce flooding, erosion and pollution impacts. A training program, manual and workshop series will be developed to show municipal officials how to plan, design and encourage environmental improvements to regional streams and stormwater ponds using native plants and bioengineering technologies, leading to less flooding, better water quality, habitat improvement and educational/recreational places.
Greater Alton Community Development - $68,000
This research project will lead to the development of an Illinois Traditional Neighborhood Design Technical Book that will show an alternative approach to conventional, sprawl-inducing development regulations. The Technical Book will include descriptions and drawings of traditional neighborhood design concepts and will serve as a model for Illinois communities seeking to incorporate these concepts into their own planning processes.
Illinois Association of Regional Councils - $30,000
This project will lead to the publication of a guidance document on developing and preparing a community strategic plan. The document will be a handbook, graphically illustrated and easy to read, that will provide a step-by-step outline of strategic plan development, summarize the key ingredients of a community strategic plan and will offer suggestions about planning for community development.
Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission - $63,500
This project aims to provide written models and principles that can help developing regions of the state enjoy economic prosperity while protecting the qualities inherent in these urban areas, the surrounding landscape of natural resources, the special character of towns, and the quality of life offered the state’s residents. A guidebook that highlights sustainable growth principles and their implementation will be developed. Guidelines will be based primarily on a three-part philosophy of sustainability.
Rockville Township- $45,000
This project will utilize citizen input to develop a written analysis of available options for the development of an Illinois township, the potential impact of each option, a template for township comprehensive plans oriented to balanced growth, and a clearly-defined process for incorporating a township. These products will serve as models for Illinois townships seeking to implement balanced growth planning principles.
Village of Sugar Grove - $65,000
Rather than replicating previous studies that provide snapshots of current revenues and expenditures, a fiscal impact analysis of residential development will serve as a tool for predicting the impacts of specific residential projects on municipal services. This, in turn, will aid municipal officials in making well-informed decisions about the fiscal impacts of development, proper service levels and the appropriate balance of land uses. The product to be developed under this Agreement will be an instructional handbook presenting a method or series of formulas by which the impacts on municipal services may be calculated.
Village of La Grange Park - $55,000
The goal of this project is to provide the opportunity for capacity building at the state level, while at the same time formulating a new comprehensive plan that will reflect the current and future needs of the community. Utilizing stakeholder input, this project will examine development and redevelopment potential; develop concise land use recommendations; identify opportunities for expanding the local economic base; and analyze transportation, housing, public facilities and infrastructure issues. The resulting comprehensive plan will be formatted to serve as a template for other communities in Illinois that may be facing redevelopment pressures.
Bi-State Regional Commission - $30,000
This project involves both data collection and analysis, as well as the preparation of a land use planning and management tool. Land uses are implemented and controlled by local governments through their respective development codes and regulations, including, for example, zoning, subdivision, floodplain management, stormwater management and erosion control ordinances. This project will develop a brochure and a website on land use information in the Quad City urbanized area that will serve as a tool for local governments, planners and the development community.
City of Chicago Heights - $40,000
This project will focus on data collection and analysis, urban design and marketing designed to promote area redevelopment of the East Side neighborhood of the City of Chicago Heights, which contains some of the community’s oldest residential, commercial and industrial structures. The initiative will produce a technical publication, a GIS mapping system and conceptual site plans/development plans. These products will be informative to any community looking to facilitate in-fill development in an urban core area that is experiencing considerable deterioration, decline in population, high crime and high unemployment.
City of Urbana - $50,000
This project will examine an area of North Urbana that has a land use pattern characterized by incompatibilities, inefficient layout, high vacancy rates, low assessed valuation, and a variety of public health and safety concerns; yet holds promise for redevelopment activity. The North Urbana Redevelopment Plan will involve a comprehensive redevelopment planning process leading up to the creation of a technical publication in the form of a Redevelopment Plan document. This document and the process used to prepare it will serve as models for other Illinois communities seeking to redevelop targeted areas.
Village of Monee - $65,600
This project will address the adaptation of existing planning tools of a small municipality located in the path of urban development, to the achievement of the goals of balanced growth, including preservation of open space and agricultural land, promotion of infill development, utilization of existing infrastructure, and the cooperative achievement of these goals with other regional municipal entities. The project will complete a major review of the zoning ordinance code and related planning documents to incorporate balanced growth principles and practices into existing zoning and planning policies. The resulting products will provide model language for other municipalities that are interested in updating their ordinances and codes.
Peoria County - $31,000
This project will explore the feasibility of adopting a countywide building code. The study will aid the citizens of unincorporated Peoria County by providing a guide to the adoption of a model building code that would ensure reasonable minimum safety levels, including disaster resistance on all new construction. In addition, the study will identify the impact of adopting the building code based upon life safety issues, property values and property insurance ratings.
Metropolitan Planning Council - $75,000
This project will build on previous work of the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) related to zoning reform and best practices. MPC will create an easy-to-use toolkit to educate the public on zoning issues and provide a guide for community groups to shape development and the built environment in their neighborhoods. In addition, a set of neighborhood zoning recommendations will be developed to address residential, business, and commercial zoning from a neighborhood perspective. Finally, a set of issue papers concerning four balanced growth areas will be developed that will be available for other communities to use in their zoning work.
Illinois Institute of Technology - $65,726
This project will examine the feasibility of establishing water reclamation systems in high growth areas, using the Fox River watershed as the primary focus of the study. Wastewater reclamation systems have the potential to address both increasing wastewater treatment needs, as well as groundwater recharge issues in areas experiencing development pressures. A comprehensive project report will be produced, along with a handbook that outlines a step-by-step approach to promoting wastewater reclamation systems. These tools and techniques will be applicable throughout Illinois.