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Public input sought at this week’s Moving Will County workshop

By Rex Robinson | 8/11/2020, 6 a.m.
Any Will County residents interested in voicing concerns and hearing what the future holds when it comes to trucking issues ...
Overhead view of one portion of the 6,500-acre CenterPoint Intermodal facility, which is located in both Joliet and Elwood. Will County Center for Economic Development

Any Will County residents interested in voicing concerns and hearing what the future holds when it comes to trucking issues are encouraged to attend a virtual workshop this week.

Will County officials are reminding residents that they will have the opportunity to voice their opinions and concerns about truck routing at a virtual public workshop this Thursday. The workshop is being held to gather input from residents about combining a truck routing study with a transportation and community land use strategy, the goal being a balance between the two. Individuals interested in participating need to register for the workshop at www.MovingWillCounty.org

County Board Speaker Mimi Cowan said the workshop would lead to a comprehensive plan that melds the economic benefits of transportation with quality of life issues for Will County.

“As an historian, I’m cognizant that, for almost 200 years, Will County has been central to the movement of goods throughout our greater region and the nation,” Cowan said. “While I am keen to see that centrality continue, one of my goals is to promote collaborative solutions that support economic development and maintain a high quality of life for all our residents. Moving Will County provides us with an excellent opportunity to do just that.”

The virtual public workshop is scheduled to be held from 6 to 7:15 p.m. to present initial findings and seek public feedback. The County Executive and County Board have worked with several partners to develop the plan and host the workshop. 

“There is no question that Will County derives substantial economic benefit as a growing transportation hub, but as the primary governing body overseeing this vital asset, we must still work to maintain  our agricultural and cultural assets, not to mention desirable residential neighborhoods and communities,” Minority Leader Mike Fricilone said.  

Since the project began in November 2019, a planning team has conducted research, and data analysis, and held many focus groups with various municipalities and local organizations to understand current issues and opportunities. Existing conditions reports for both the Truck Routing and Communities Study as well as Transportation and Land Use Strategy are available on the project website, www.MovingWillCounty.org

“While we have already done significant work toward achieving our goal, we still need input from the public as the team begins to look toward the future and develop recommendations to achieve the desired balance and  to ensure that we’re on the right track,” said  Joe VanDuyne, Chair of the  Public Works and Transportation Committee. “This workshop provides the opportunity to create a model approach for addressing the many challenges of our rapid growth in both population and intermodal developments.”

The virtual public workshop will include brief presentations from panelists on different elements of the project and will incorporate live polling and questions from participants throughout the event. Following the workshop, additional online and offline engagement will be available for more in-depth feedback, as well as for those unable to participate in the live workshop.

The workshop will primarily explore truck traffic and routing, existing freight land use clusters. New development, agricultural businesses, natural and cultural resources, and residential impact will be examined in subsequent workshops. The study builds on the previous award-winning Community Friendly Freight Study and the land use and transportation plan also being developed. It provides the opportunity to create a model approach for addressing the many challenges of rapid growth in intermodal developments.

Interested parties can learn more and register for the virtual workshop by visiting www.MovingWillCounty.org. The Moving Will County project is a partnership between Will County and CMAP.