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Fairmont Area Begins Planning Project

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The unincorporated Fairmont area, located between the cities of Lockport and Joliet, is developing a plan that will guide land use and other decisions for decades to come. As part of that effort, Will County and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning are inviting local residents, business owners, community leaders, and other stakeholders to attend a special community planning event. The Fairmont area was plotted and developed in the 1920’s, and despite its early growth, it was never annexed by an adjacent community or grew large enough to incorporate on its own. As a result, Will County has maintained its land use regulatory authority for the area.

To be held on Thursday, May 19, 2011, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Fairmont Community Center, 525 Barry Avenue, Lockport, IL 60441, the session will feature a brainstorming exercise in which participants can state their preferences for issues they feel should be addressed in planning for the future of Fairmont.

The Fairmont plan will include future land use development, infrastructure improvements, economic development, community synergy; and public areas and culture. Now, a grant to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is enabling CMAP staff to provide technical assistance to the Fairmont area, including help with public participation in the plan’s development.

May 19 event lets residents have their say

To begin, residents need to answer the question: What issues do you think should be addressed in planning for the future of Fairmont? The May 19 meeting is a chance for people to have their voices heard. At this initial public meeting, we want to hear what you think the plan should address. Is water an issue in your community? How about traffic? Do you want to preserve the character of your community?

For information or to RSVP, contact Cynthia Hernandez of CMAP at 312-386-8623 or email chernandez@cmap.illinois.gov.

In the project’s first phase, CMAP will undertake a detailed existing conditions analysis to verify existing land use, study community facilities, and obtain initial public input regarding the issues and opportunities of the area. The second phase will be to create a shared vision for the community with specific goals and recommendations to help achieve the community’s vision. The third phase will be to develop an implementation strategy that will assist the County, residents, and others in undertaking the plan’s recommendations.

HUD and CMAP build capacity for local planning

Especially in challenging economic times, many communities have difficulty allocating enough resources to plan as proactively as they would prefer. At the same time, proactive planning is necessary for economic prosperity and protecting community assets. The HUD-funded effort is helping fill this gap by making staff resources and grants available to assist with local planning projects that help to implement GO TO 2040, the first comprehensive plan for metropolitan Chicago in more than 100 years.

The HUD grant to CMAP was announced one day after leaders of the seven-county region, on October 13, 2010, unanimously adopted GO TO 2040. The region’s plan establishes coordinated strategies that help the region’s 284 communities address transportation, housing, economic development, open space, the environment, and other quality-of-life issues. See www.cmap.illinois.gov for more information.

With the three-year $4.25 million HUD award (http://www.cmap.illinois.gov/press-release-10-14-10), CMAP has begun a new Local Technical Assistance program sponsored by HUD as part of the federal interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities. CMAP issued a call for projects in early 2011, prompting more than 220 proposals from over 130 municipalities, counties, interjurisdictional groups, and nongovernmental organizations — an indication of significant unmet demand for local planning capacity.

In March, CMAP began partnering with the first wave of 62 local governments, nonprofits, and intergovernmental organizations selected for assistance. Like the Fairmont area effort, these projects address local issues at the intersection of transportation, land use, and housing, including the natural environment, economic growth, and community development. Download a full list of projects at http://goo.gl/1nYBM.
CMAP is the official regional planning organization for the northeastern Illinois counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will.

Media contact: Justine Reisinger, 312-386-8802 or jreisinger@cmap.illinois.gov

Program contact: Pete Saunders, 312-386-8654 or psaunders@cmap.illinois.gov

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