Balanced growth educational forums scheduled for March 10, 11 and 16

Winnebago County (in cooperation with the Metropolitan Planning Council) will be offering a series of meetings throughout the County to provide information concerning balanced growth planning. On March 10th, 11th and 16th, the County will sponsor eight meetings throughout the area from Rockton to Rockford and in-between.

Growth and development issues are often the primary concern of community leaders. The need to attract economic development and jobs, and balance that development with preserving natural resources and community character, are of primary concern to local elected officials. Communities in Winnebago County are at the crossroads of determining their future. This program will provide some tools to those communities to assist them in their development process.

The meetings are formatted to provide information regarding the balanced growth concept to those involved in the planning and zoning process in the County. This includes elected officials, those involved in planning and zoning, education and transportation, economic development, agriculture, natural resource management, neighborhood associations, and developers. Programs have been scheduled in different areas of the County to make them as accessible as possible. It is a chance to learn from the experts and deal with real life scenarios to make critical decisions that affect Winnebago County communities.

Funding for the program are being provided by a grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation for the second phase of the County’s Balanced Growth Initiative. As the result of an Illinois Department of Transportation grant two years ago, the County, working with area leaders and citizens, developed a Principles of Balanced Growth handbook, which will help communities plan for their future to enhance economic development, preserve natural resources and improve quality of life. These handbooks will be available to all meeting attendees.

Scott Goldstein, Vice President of Policy and Planning at the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), a leading expert in community and economic development based in Chicago, will lead participants in balanced growth development discussions and, at some meetings, simulations. Participants will be given the techniques to bring their community to the next level, using a new resource published by MPC, the Campaign for Sensible Growth and the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus entitled “Sensible Tools for Healthy Communities: A Decision-Making Workbook for Local Officials, Developers, and Community Leaders.”

The schedule for the forums are listed below. For a registration form, visit the County’s website (

March 10

All elected public officials

8 to 9:30 a.m. at Midway Village

Rockford/Loves Park/Machesney Park

11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Loves Park City Hall Winnebago County Board/General Public

6 to 6:30 p.m. at the County Board Room

Court House, 8th Floor

March 11

So. Winnebago County—CherryValley, New Millford, Winnebago

7:30 to 9 a.m. at the Airport Auditorium

Natural Resources—Farmland/Infill Development

3 to 4:30 p.m. at Forest Preserve Hdqrters

March 16

Northern Winnebago County—Rockton, Roscoe, South Beloit

8 to 9:30 a.m. at the Williams Tree Farm Western Winnebago County—Durand, Pecatonica, Seward

11:30 to 1 p.m. at St. John’s Church

Zoning and Planning Officials—Transportation/Education

4 to 5:30 p.m. at Loves Park City Hall

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