Development, transit 
key at planning session

RICHMOND – Economic development, land use and transportation were among the chief concerns of about 40 people at a Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, or CMAP, meeting Wednesday night in Richmond.

The meeting is part of the “GO TO 2040” planning campaign, aimed at producing long-range plans for land use and transportation in the Chicago area.

“We’re starting at ground zero, very basic, with two or three meetings to take input from community,” Richmond Township Supervisor Tammy Valentine-Garza said. “Everybody, as a stakeholder, has their priorities.”

McHenry County is among seven counties included in the campaign, and similar meetings already have been held in other areas of the county.

Residents and local officials attended Wednesday night’s meeting, which nearly filled the township office.

CMAP meeting facilitators divided attendants into groups of about 10 as they arrived. Everyone received Post-It notes and were asked to write “pressing issues” that exist in their communities.

Then the Post-It notes were placed on wall posters, labeled transportation, land use, economic development, and several other categories.

CMAP meeting facilitator Huberg Morgan said the meeting style was meant to be interactive and foster conversation.

“People get a chance to see what they’ve written on the wall,” Morgan said. “We’re not doing. They’re doing. It’s much more participatory.”

Facilitators then distributed red and green dot stickers. They asked attendants to stick the green dots next to topics they thought are well-handled in the community, and red dots beside services that are poorly handled.

Spring Grove resident Howard Doughman placed red dots next to the words transportation and infrastructure. He said the area could use more four- and five-lane roads, and that long commutes deter people from traveling or moving into the county.

“We just keep forming traffic bottlenecks,” Doughman said. Routes 12 and 31 are especially frustrating for commuters, he said.

Meanwhile, at another group, Meg LaMonica from Senior Services Associates echoed similar concerns about transportation.

“Transportation is always an issue for our clients,” LaMonica said.

She also cited affordable housing for seniors as an area in which improvement is needed.

During the next few months, CMAP plans to conduct more meetings across the seven counties. By the end of the summer, at least two more meetings will be held in McHenry County before planners begin choosing which major capital projects they will pursue in the fall.

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