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  • Building a Brighter Future for Rural Illinois:Goals for Stronger Communities

    Rural Partners members in collaboration with otherresidents across rural Illinois

  • Building a Brighter Future for Rural Illinois: Goals for Stronger Communities

    Published by Rural Partners, 3085 Stevenson Drive, Suite 302, Springfield, IL 62703

    August, 1998

    In July 1996, a small group of public and private allies of Rural Partners undertook the task of drafting a documentthat would: reflect the most inherent needs and desires for effective rural development in the State of Illinois; providean inclusive platform for further discussion, input, and collaboration; and ultimately set a direction by which ruraldevelopment agencies, policy makers, and local citizens may work more effectively together to channel scarceresources and avoid duplication of efforts.

    Development of this information has resulted from input from a variety of rural constituents. Representatives ofpublic and private sector agencies have continued to work closely with Rural Partners to ensure rural Illinoisconcerns and aspirations for community and economic development are accurately reflected. More than 500comments were recorded and incorporated into the planning process following a series of eight regionally sponsoredpublic meetings that were held throughout Illinois in the spring and early summer of 1997. In September, 1997, RuralPartners sponsored a statewide Benchmarking Conference to examine principals of benchmarking and performancemonitoring for state and local development. In March, 1998, a written survey of attendees at the 9th Annual RuralCommunity & Economic Development Conference was distributed in an effort to identify high priority goals from alist of more than 50 potential initiatives that had been proposed through the planning process. The survey returnednearly 100 responses a necessary basis from which the Rural Partners planning team has been able to extractGoals for Stronger Communities.

    Special thanks to the initial collaborating agencies: USDA Rural Development; Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs;Governors Rural Affairs Council; IL Department of Commerce & Community Affairs; IL Department of Agriculture;IL Department of Public Health; IL Rural Water Association; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; andSouthern Illinois University at Carbondale.

    This publication was compiled and edited by the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs.

  • August 1998

    What is the future of rural Illinois?

    Predicting the future is never easy. The future of our rural areas depends in large part on localconditions and trends. We do know that achieving complex goals often requires detailed strategies thatmay take monthsor even yearsto put into place. It seems clear that quick fixes usually dont work.

    If you talk to rural leaders, many will tell you that successful community and economic developmentefforts require true collaborationa holistic approach that takes into account a variety of viewpoints andinvolves all parts of the community. Such collaboration usually results in the development of a community"vision" that challenges the status quo and elevates every member of the community.

    The purpose of this publication is to highlight goals that will help rural residents pursue higherstandards of living and better, more efficient communities, while still preserving the character of ruralIllinois. It is part of an effort by Rural Partnersthe states private/public rural developmentpartnershipto develop a strategic plan for rural development in our state. However, these goals are onlya starting point. As you will see, much work needs to be done in order to move from "where we are" to"where we want to be." We need to develop action plans and "fill in the gaps" so that we can move fromthese goals to the specific activities necessary to carry them out. Not every goal will apply to everycommunity, but working together, they will improve all rural areas of our state.

    We needand are looking forward toyour input. Please contact Paul Galligos at 3085 StevensonDr., Suite 302, Springfield, IL 62703, or fax (217) 585-8233 with your ideas and recommendations for thefuture and to find the names of Rural Partners members in your area. More importantly, please be activein your own community to shape these goals to fit your local situation and put them into place.

    Sincerely,

    Rural Partners MembersAnd Board of Directors

  • iv

    CONTENTS

    Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . i

    Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

    IntroductionMission, Vision, Assumptions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

    Guiding Principles of Strong Rural Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

    Chapter 1: Leadership Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

    Chapter 2: Economic Vitality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

    Chapter 3: Quality of Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

    Conclusions / Whats Next . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

    Key Definitions, Acronyms and Abbreviations for Rural Development in Illinois . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

    Current Trends and Conditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

    About Rural Partners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

  • WinnebagoStephenson

    RichlandLawrence

    Wabash

    LakeMcHenryJo Daviess

    Alexander

    Cook

    Rock Island

    Henderson

    Ford

    Calhoun

    Putnam

    Adams

    Macoupin

    Madison

    Monroe

    Randolph

    St. Clair

    Pike

    Greene

    Jersey

    ScottMorgan

    Washington

    Perry

    Jackson

    Union

    Sangamon

    Bond

    Clinton

    Montgomery

    Christian

    Henry

    McDonough

    Schuyler

    Brown

    Hancock

    Cass

    Fulton

    Mercer

    KnoxWarren

    Marshall

    Tazewell

    Mason

    Menard

    Peoria

    Logan

    Woodford

    Stark

    Whiteside

    Carroll

    Lee

    Bureau

    Ogle

    Moultrie

    Clay

    Hamilton

    Johnson

    Pulaski

    Franklin

    Williamson

    Massac

    Pope

    Saline

    Shelby

    Jefferson

    Fayette

    Marion

    Wayne

    Effingham

    Edwards

    White

    Hardin

    Gallatin

    Jasper

    Coles

    Cumberland

    Crawford

    Clark

    Livingston

    De Witt

    Macon

    McLean

    Piatt

    La Salle

    DeKalb

    Boone

    Iroquois

    Douglas

    Champaign

    Edgar

    Vermilion

    Grundy

    Kendall

    Kane

    Will

    Kankakee

    DuPageSTATE OF ILLINOIS

    RURAL COUNTIES

    Adams CountyAlexander CountyBond CountyBrown CountyBureau CountyCalhoun CountyCarroll CountyCass CountyChristian CountyClark CountyClay CountyColes CountyCrawford CountyCumberland CountyDe Witt CountyDouglas CountyEdgar CountyEdwards CountyEffingham CountyFayette CountyFord CountyFranklin CountyFulton CountyGallatin CountyGreene CountyHamilton CountyHancock CountyHardin CountyHenderson CountyIroquois CountyJackson CountyJasper CountyJefferson CountyJo Daviess CountyJohnson CountyKnox CountyLa Salle CountyLawrence CountyLee CountyLivingston County

    LoganCountyMcDonough County

    MacoupinCountyMarionCountyMarshallCountyMasonCountyMassacCountyMercerCountyMontgomery CountyMorganCountyMoultrieCountyPerry CountyPiatt CountyPike CountyPope CountyPulaski CountyPutnam CountyRandolph CountyRichland CountySaline CountySchuyler CountyScott CountyShelby CountyStark CountyStephenson CountyUnion CountyVermilion CountyWabash County

    Warren CountyWashington CountyWayne CountyWhite CountyWhiteside CountyWilliamson County

    METROPOLITANCOUNTIES

    Boone CountyChampaign CountyClinton CountyCook CountyDe Kalb CountyDu Page County

    Grundy CountyHenry CountyJersey CountyKane CountyKankakee CountyKendall CountyLake CountyMcHenry County

    McLean CountyMacon CountyMadison CountyMenard CountyMonroe County

  • 1

    Ogle CountyPeoria CountyRock Island CountySt. Clair CountySangamon CountyTazewell CountyWill CountyWinnebago CountyWoodford County

    FOREWORD

    The 1990s brought a new era to many ruralIllinois counties. After losing significant numbers ofresidents in the 1980s, many counties haveexperienced population gains since 1990, in somecases substantial increases. In the 1970s, manyrural counties that had experienced populationdeclines for decades grew in population and, overall,nonmetro areas increased more rapidly than urbanareas. Because the growth was short term anddeclines resumed in the 1980s, some dismissed theexperiences in the 1970s as an aberration. Thequestion now is whether the 1970s or the 1980swere the unusual period.

    Two distinct groups of counties appear tocharacterize the 1990s. On one hand are thosewith population increases and relative economicprosperity. On the other are countiesusually inmore remote agricultural areaswith highunemployment and population declines. Eachcounty group faces different policy issues. Smallcommunities in growing counties have housingshortages and infrastructure deficiencies. Decliningcounties must aggressively attract, retain, andexpand existing industry to generate betteremployment opportunities. State policies mustrecognize both county types and assist local leadersworking to improve the future of their communities.

    This document addresses a wide variety ofneeds throughout rural Illinois. Several keydefinitions are provided on subsequent pages to

    bring readers and contributors together on selectterminology. However, a definition for ruralcommunity is conspicuously omitted, because theintent of this rural developmen

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