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The Legacy Act mandates that a progress report be submitted to the Governor’s Office and the General Assembly.  The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has taken the lead on this effort and has provided a two part report that addresses policy needs and technical progress of the pilot Legacy Plans. 


The State of Illinois should explore the feasibility of funding the protection and enhancement of Legacy resources [1] at a scale relative to that which is provided for roads, sewers, and other infrastructure investments.  Fostering a high quality of life is one of the most viable economic strategies for Illinois.  Considering the un-tapped economic potential of resources, the state should support efforts to improve public investment decisions that capitalize on this opportunity and provide support in advance of the significant subsidies to convert these resources.   Investments in these local resources provide additional economic development incentives and opportunities.  These are the type of investments that stay in the local economy.


Legacy resources, as essential parts of the overall community, are in fact very much part of the local economic base.  It is a well known that amenities related to an area’s high quality of life are a key ingredient for attracting new economic development.  Investments in these local resources can also help spur and enhance development within urban, suburban and rural settings.  The variety of potential strategies is limited only by one’s imagination, but to be truly effective, strategies should be tailored to a specific location.  Examples of economic opportunities from legacy resources include:

  • Ecosystems provide more than just water resources and attractive vistas. They can provide other economic services such as waste treatment, buffers for floods and droughts, recreational opportunities including both consumptive (hunting or fishing) and non-consumptive (parks or trails) uses, and encourage eco-tourism. Rivers and waterways in many locales are used to promote a development theme. Ecological design can provide economic benefits as part of a mixed-use redevelopment strategy that brings brownfields back into productive use. Native landscaping, while providing ecological benefits, also provides economic benefits.
  • Cultural and historical features offer a theme or a central anchor from which re-development efforts can be engineered. These features create a positive diversity in the local economy and generate additional revenues and provide residential and commercial opportunities in areas with existing infrastructure. Cultural features also can boost the local economy by attracting visitors to the area, thus increasing tax revenues.
  • Agricultural resources have always played a central part in Illinois traditional economy, but to most, agriculture is more than just an economic sector. The contribution agriculture makes to local economies can be expanded or sustained by directing attention to balancing the conversion of agricultural land, in particular, prime farmland. In addition, support for diversifying agricultural production near urban/suburban centers can provide both immediate local economic benefits as well as long term land management benefits

One undisputed conclusion of regional development analysis is that both economic and social issues are directly linked to environmental issues.  As the state strives to be globally competitive, sound decision making requires a concerted effort that addresses traditional economic development principles and incorporates the benefits provided by utilizing and building upon Illinois’ legacy resources. 


Not becoming fully cognizant of the value and contribution of legacy resources to the economy is significant, and in general, economic development is a complex issue.  Therefore, to address these uncertainties and the long range consequences from tradeoffs, we need a process that: 1) recognizes legacy resources as assets within the economic model, 2) allows us to explore the cost/benefits of a multitude of development options, and 3) allows us to have a better understanding about the future impacts of today’s decisions, fostering better land use decision-making at the local level.


Legacy planning, as developed from this Act, is not just about planning— it is about:


§  analyzing plans and challenging basic intuitions and assumptions for strategic and  efficient decision making. 

§  collaborating with local stakeholders to test those assumptions before committing  to an actual investment strategy.

§  incorporating resource valuation within the context of other planning efforts. 


The model makes evident the inefficiencies in land use.  Dedicated financial and technical support is needed in the areas of analysis and funding to protect and enhance legacy resources.   State participation at this level would help nourish local economies and enhance community livability for today and future generations. 




Public Act 93-0328 was passed in 2003 and signed by Governor Rod Blagojevich into law.  This Act created the Local Legacy Act.  As stated in Section 1 part d of the Act, “(I)t is the purpose of this Act to promote voluntary county-municipal partnerships in every county by the year 2020 that will inventory resources, develop Resource Protection Plans, and implement their respective plans.”   This report reviews the efforts by the Department of Natural Resources, Department of Agriculture and Historic Preservation Agency to address progress towards accomplishing the purposes of the Local Legacy Act. [2]  

 In order to measure progress, it is imperative to provide both a working definition of accomplishment as well the significant limiting factors.  The aforementioned part d provides the most succinct definition of the Act’s intentions; the development and implementation of resource protection plans.  The Act, while recognizing the complexity of the issue (competition for land), is largely absent of any substantive directions in terms of prescribing the content of Resource Protection Plans or suggestions related to the implementation of protection measures. 


The Act devotes an overwhelming majority of its language to process, this process seeks to foster inter-agency coordination as well as county-municipal cooperation.  Section 15 prescribes the formal process for organizing inter-agency coordination.  Sections 25 and 30 provide an elaborate process for fostering county-municipal cooperation.  There are three broad conditions that impede implementation of the process that is laid out in the Act.

  • Local Legacy Act was passed without fiscal resources to support either internal program staffing needs or external grant requirements,
  • The State of Illinois is experiencing one of the greatest fiscal crises of all time, jeopardizing both existing programs as well as new. 
  • The Local Legacy Act placed a significant amount of emphasis on the establishment of a county-municipal partnership.  Lacking funds for grants, the Act as written does not provide any apparent incentive for local governments to partner or participate. 


Simply, the use of grants funds was to be the key component of the Act whereby these grants would provide the critical incentive to achieve the process objectives outlined in the Act.  In short, these constraints provided a significant barrier toward implementing the Local Legacy Act.  Recognizing these constraints, the Department of Natural Resources took the lead on developing an alternative approach to the Local Legacy Act.   It was determined early on that any successful attempts to address the Act must provide: 1) some incentive in lieu of grants to foster cooperation—and 2) an advanced framework to address the complex [3] challenges presented by this issue. Subsequently, a “proof of concept” was developed for promoting the development of Legacy Plans and three regions were selected as pilots.

The pilot projects were designed to take advantage of existing programs/projects to achieve savings, i.e. economies of scope and scale.  The pilots built on, wherever possible, existing programs at the appropriate state agencies and sought collaboration with local planning organizations for data acquisition needs and liaison with local officials.  The pilots are located in the Northeastern Illinois, Peoria and the Metro-East regions

The rationale for the pilots was to use innovations in computer technology and planning theory to demonstrate that a Legacy Plan can be developed that will engage local government officials and stakeholders, and integrate planning activities, without a complex oversight process (board, commission, rules) as required in the Act.  These core aspects—computer technology and advanced planning theory—are the mechanism to: 1) supplant the granting process with innovative planning tools that foster dialogue and cooperation and 2) address the technical complexity of the issue. 

The reference to the importance of the innovations in computer technology and planning theory is directed at two tools being pioneered at the University of Illinois.  These tools are known as: 1) the land use evaluation and impact assessment model--LEAM and 2) a system of plans.

LEAM is an innovative computer-based tool that simulates land-use change across space and time.  It enables planners, policymakers, interest groups and laypersons to understand what factors cause land-use change and allows them to visualize and test collective decisions and their consequences.  The LEAM environment enhances our understanding of the connection between urban, environmental, social, and economic systems.  LEAM runs on high-performance computing platforms at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications.  This allows large regions (multi-county metropolitan areas) to be modeled at a very fine scale (30 x 30 meter cells or a quarter acre).


The second innovative component of the proof of concept is the adoption of the theory known as the system of plans.  The system of plans utilizes advanced computer technology to construct a variety of plans into an electronic database.  Simply put, the system of plans prescribes how plans can better aid decision making.  The system of plans concept suggests that plans can and should emerge from their context and be used from the decision-making perspective rather than implemented from the plan’s perspective.  The construction of this database creates plans that can be viewed from the perspective of decision making situations. [4]  


The three pilot projects were designed with six major components.  The components are discussed further in the report.  The projects have limited funds to operate and typically information is handled via electronic means, such as cd’s or websites.  Examples of resource inventories, system of plans, and LEAM land use simulations are provided in Appendix II or on the public website at www/leam/uiuc/legacy.  The six major components include: 

1) Reach out to local officials and local stakeholders.  This is being done to obtain

a) local perspective,

b) assistance with compiling various data for the project and,

c) "making the project real" essentially ensuring the project adds value to other efforts and meets the interests/needs of the local stakeholders.

2) Resource inventory--collecting data to assemble the legacy resource inventory (almost exclusively the inventory relies on existing data for cultural, natural and agricultural resources).

3) Constructing the system of plans --collecting a cross section of plans (municipal, county, regional, transportation, economic development, watershed, etc).

4) Develop a locally specific land use simulation and impact model [5] to analyze potential and/or desired scenarios.  Scenarios are either public investments or public policies relative to land use change.5) Using the results from the model to compare land use conflicts and opportunities; derived from the previous components (i.e. 1,-4).

6) Prepare a local legacy plan, which identifies strategies for protecting legacy resources. Further the plan/project will allow locals to identify their priority needs to state agencies for both resource protection and public investment.  The legacy plan will clearly identify and prioritize opportunities for utilizing and coordinating state programs (particularly grant programs).

Section 15 of the Local Legacy Act directed that a Board be established.  This Board of Directors should consist of the Director from each of the Departments of Agriculture and Natural Resources as well as the Historical Preservation Agency.  In lieu of the funds to support the creation and operation of the Legacy program, the Directors have assigned technical staff to oversee the pilot projects.  The technical team meets to review progress on an as needed basis and reports on the progress to their respective Directors. 


This section describes the general operating premise behind the proof of concept, a technical description of methodology, overall tasks, and expected outcomes.


Although the state has passed several pieces of legislation (including the Local Legacy Act and the Local Planning Technical Assistance Act [6] ) to assist in planning for future growth in urban areas, the state currently lacks the funds to support them.  At the core of this proposed legacy planning process, is an integrated “document” that includes goals, policies, strategies, and procedures for inventorying, prioritizing and preserving critical farmland, natural areas, and cultural resources.  Foremost, the purpose of these pilot plans are to utilize the concept of the Local Legacy Act (P.A. 93-0328) – providing technical assistance and an innovative planning tool to encourage partnerships between counties and municipalities to develop and implement a resource protection plan – without creating the formal boards and committees called for in the Act.


Using innovations in computer technology and planning theory these pilot projects will demonstrate that Legacy Plans can be developed that will engage local government officials and stakeholders, and integrate planning activities occurring in urban areas, without the complexity of the oversight process (board, commission, rules) as required in the Act.   The project will build on existing programs at the appropriate state agencies and collaboration with local planning organizations for data acquisition needs and working with local officials.  It is the goal of these pilot projects to develop innovative planning tools, informally engage local stakeholders, and build from existing local planning activities and state programs so that the state will provide a much more efficient and valuable process than established in the Act.


Organizational Elements of Pilot Projects

 The pilots are being conducted in one county within the northeastern Illinois region (McHenry), three counties in the Peoria region, (Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford) and four counties from southwestern Illinois (Madison, St. Clair, Randolph and Monroe).   The pilot regions were selected based on: 1) resources threats relative to urbanization trends and 2) project cost savings due to previous data collection and/or previous model development efforts.


Technical support is being provided to the University of Illinois’ Department of Regional and Urban Planning.  The IDNR also enlisted the help of various regional planning organizations to assist with outreach to local stakeholders and to help with data collection. These organizations include, Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission (NIPC), Tri-County Regional Planning Commission and the Southwestern Resource Conservation and Development (SWRCD). In addition to IDNR, the Department of Agriculture and Historical Preservation Agency, are participating, as identified in the Local Legacy Act.  In addition, the project is also coordinating with other state agencies including, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

Fiscal support was provided to planning organizations through IDNR’s nationally recognized Conservation 2000 Ecosystems Program in support of watershed planning.  In addition, IDNR provided support to the University of Illinois (U of I) for development of the system of plans as well as for developing the necessary interface with the land use model (LEAM).

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is the technical lead agency for the Legacy Plan project.  This role entails:

  • general oversight of the project and contracts with local planning agencies and the University of Illinois,
  • review of work and products as developed,
  • provide natural resources data needed for the inventory, coordinate the local and state government partnership and,
  • assist in the preparation of the resource protection plan.

For its part, the Illinois Department of Agriculture is assisting in securing the agricultural soils information for the resource inventory.  Beyond soil inventory, IDOA is providing ongoing technical support that will assist with demonstrating that local legacy plans can be an effective instrument for helping to achieve the delicate balance between economic development and natural, agricultural, and cultural resource conservation.  In addition, the IDOA is included with the other partners in the preparation of a resource protection plan.

The Illinois Historical Preservation Agency is working on the development of the Legacy plan through its Historic Architecture and Archaeological Geographic Information System (HAARGIS).  HAARGIS is a tool to manage information about historic and prehistoric properties under the protection of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.  IHPA oversees the various federal and state initiatives and laws regarding historic preservation in Illinois.  One of these laws requires that IHPA maintain an inventory of properties with historic, architectural, and/or archaeological significance.  As it exists, HAARGIS is extremely useful for IHPA staff in many of the state and federal programs that they administer; it is also extremely helpful so that the public can identify protected resources during preplanning of construction or renovation projects. IHPA will also provide direct contributions to the review and development of a legacy plan.

A key component of these pilots is the partnership between the local planning organizations, county and local governments and state agencies.  The Legacy agencies (IDNR, IDOA & IHPA) have been working in close cooperation to develop resource inventories, liaise with local officials and develop the legacy plan.  This state team is also working to incorporate input from other agencies in order to ensure the legacy plan is developed within the context of other local interests.   Other state agencies, such as IDOT, IEPA, and DCEO, are being asked to participate in this process to provide information on public investments made by each of these agencies to local governments.  One example of an agency’s effort that could be included in Legacy’s examination of future development in the region is the proposed economic development projects that are included in Opportunities Returns plans for each of  the DCEO’s Economic and Workforce Development Regions.  Also IEPA has expressed interest in partnering planning activities as they move forward with pilot watershed planning

Methodology—“Proof of Concept”

The technical basis for this approach to a Local Legacy plan is the innovation in computer technology and planning theory—developed at the University of Illinois’ Department of Urban and Regional Planning called a system of plans (see figure 1). This concept for new planning, a system of plans is a more effective way to understand the future development of a region than any one traditional comprehensive plan.  A web-based system of plans brings together development and resource plans from various local and state agencies.  It allows for the retrieval for parts of different plans, relevant to a particular decision situation, to see where gaps and conflicts among plans exist.  This leads to a more informed decision-making process (see http://harrappa.urban.uiuc.edu/research/ jli6/planning/webpage_new1/Frame2.htm ).  These plans include, but are not limited to;  watershed plans, county or municipal comprehensive plans, transportation plans, sewer and water infrastructure.  The University of Illinois team is working to combine the system of plans with their land use forecasting model (Land use Evaluation and impact Assessment Model – LEAM) to look at the potential impacts of these plans to natural resources, critical farmland, and cultural resources.  

System of Plans Approach

Figure 1

The Land Use Evaluation and Impact Assessment Model (LEAM) is an innovative computer-based tool that simulates land-use change across time and distance.  It enables planners, policymakers, interest groups and laypersons to understand what factors attribute to land-use change and to visualize and test the consequences of collective decisions and their consequences.  The LEAM environment enhances our understanding of the connection between urban, environmental, social, and economic systems.  LEAM runs on high-performance computing platforms at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications.  This allows large regions (multi-county metropolitan areas) to be modeled at a very fine scale (30 x 30 meter cells or a quarter acre).


The fundamental LEAM approach to modeling urban land-use transformation dynamics begins with drivers.  Drivers are forces (typically human) that contribute to land-use change.  The LEAM approach is unique in that systems are explicitly and separately modeled in a collaborative design of initially independent models.  Sub-models are completed and run independent of the larger LEAM framework so that variables can be scaled and plotted in formats that help visualize and calibrate sub-model behavior before it becomes integrated into the larger model.  These models are established by groups or individuals who have substantial knowledge of a particular component or function of that system.  The sub-models are then linked to form the main framework of the dynamic model, which runs simultaneously in each grid cell of raster based GIS map(s).  The LEAM method of modeling uses a graphically based, spatial modeling environment (SME), which was developed at the University of Maryland to link icon-based graphical modeling environments, such as STELLA, with parallel supercomputers and a generic object database.  The result is that users are able to create and share modular, reusable model components, and utilize advanced parallel computer architectures without having to invest unnecessary time in computer programming or learning new systems. 


Model drivers represent the dynamic interactions between the urban system and the surrounding landscape.  Scenario maps visually represent the resulting land-use changes.  Altering input parameters (different policies and public investments, trends, and unexpected events), change the spatial outcome of the scenario being studied.  This enables “what-if” planning scenarios that can be visually examined and interpreted for each simulation exercise.


Once model simulations are established, it is important to recognize the impacts that the resulting changing land use patterns will have on the environmental, economic and social systems of the community.  The assessment of probable impacts is important for understanding the “so-what?” of simulations.  If things change in this way, what does it mean for society, the economy, and the environment?  Am I happy with that outcome?  If not, what policies are needed to achieve results that I find more satisfactory?  These “so-what?” impact assessments are also important for comparing the simulation outcomes and results, needed to improve communal decision-making.  The impacts assessed by the LEAM model are also used in the creation of sustainable indices and indicators that can feed back into the model drivers for new policy formation.

LEAM Sub-Models

Current Model Driver Sub-Models:

Land Price, Economic factors, Population Factors, Social Factors, Geographic Limits and Factors, Neighborhood Development Factors, Resource Limitations and Factors, Open Space requirements, Transportation mechanisms and factors (traffic congestion), Utility and Infrastructure availability, Brownfields and Employment and Cultural Centers

Impact Assessment Sub-Models:

Economic Impacts, Water Quality & Quantity, Fiscal Impacts, Air Quality, Habitat Fragmentation, Ecological Impacts, Transportation System Impacts

LEAM model results are presented using an easy-to-navigate, web-based graphical user interface.  Scenario results and impact assessments can be displayed in a number of ways: as simulation movies, through a built-in mapping tool, in graph or chart displays, or simply as raw data.

LEAM development and applications are conducted and managed by a team of faculty, staff, and students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  LEAM brings together expertise in substantive issues, modeling, high-performance computing, and visualization from the Departments of Urban Planning, Geography, Economics, Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, Landscape Architecture,  Civil Engineering, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), ERDC Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, and private industry. See http://www.rehearsal.uiuc.edu/projects/leam/ ) 


The pilots are all structured to follow the general tasks discussed briefly below.  The following section will then identify progress in the different regions according to these tasks.

  1. Inventory Resource Information:

The first task has been to collect existing natural, agriculture and cultural resource data.  This task is being performed by coordinating with the various resource agencies.  Data is being automated on a GIS for the development of the system of plans by local regional planning organizations with the assistance of the University of Illinois.  In addition, data gaps will be identified that are critical to development of a legacy plan.

  1. Liaison with State & Local Decision Makers:

Local regional planning organizations have/are engaging their respective county and municipal officials in the pilot counties as to the ongoing process of the project as well as the intended outcome.  A review team consisting of local government officials, C2000 ecosystem partnerships, and other local stakeholders (this includes key groups called for in the Act) are reviewing the methods and processes employed to develop the plan.  The team will also work with various regional planning organizations to develop action items for resource protection.

  1. Develop and Organize Compendium of Plans:

The local regional planning organizations are obtaining respective comprehensive plans within the pilot counties as well as other relevant resource plans, i.e. transportation, sewer and water plans, watershed or resource plans or key economic development plans.  The data is being automated using GIS for analysis using the system of plans approach developed at the University of Illinois.  The task of organizing the system of plans involves creating a compendium of plans that relate to the region/county and storing them digitally on the web.

  1. Analyze Consistency and Impacts of Plans:

Inconsistencies will be discovered in two ways.  The first, involves the general overlay of resource inventories with static plans.  The second, couples the system of plans with a simulation model to reveal future inconsistency and consequences.  This task includes the interaction with the general land use forecast model (LEAM).  Each plan will be simulated as a scenario that interacts with regional drivers of change and subsequently characterize potential threats to resources.  Examining future land use patterns relative to the resource inventory, this task will provide the necessary information to identify threatened resources and assist with resource protection prioritization.  There will also be an examination of policies to minimize the impacts of the various stakeholder plans on our natural resources, critical farmland, and cultural sites.


  1. Prepare Resource Legacy Plan:

A Legacy Plan will be drafted based on the work completed in Tasks 1-4.   Regional organizations, the U of I, and local stakeholders will assist with developing legacy plans.  Key to developing this plan will be to use the information from the inventory, system of plans, and projected future land use patterns to determine priorities for resource protection.  The draft plan will be reviewed by county and municipal officials, ecosystem partnerships, and other participating stakeholders.  The review team will prioritize resource protection needs and develop action items for implementation of the legacy plan.  A final report will be prepared summarizing the process (inventory, “system of plans, and LEAM’s impact assessment) and include a resource protection plan that identifies specific action items for local and state officials.  The legacy plan will serve to clearly identify and prioritize opportunities for utilizing and coordinating state programs (particularly grants) for both resource protection and public investment.

  1. Local Legacy Web Site

The LEAM group is providing web support for the project.  A web page has been developed to provide local stakeholders and the general public updates during the Legacy Plan process (draft reports, meeting dates).  The website also provides access to products such as the final plan, data used in developing the inventory and plan, the system of plans, and the results from the land use model. (The public website is viewable at www/leam/uiuc/legacy)


Progress on the project is also being maintained via an internal website known as a twiki.  Only technical staff has access to the site.  The site also allows for the uploading of resource data as well as plans.  The site allows the technical team to review material, maps, analysis etc. before posting on the public website.



The design outcome for each county within the pilot regions is the development of a resource protection, or Legacy Plan.  The plan will identify resources (natural, agriculture, cultural), threats to resources, and strategies to be adopted by various local governments that protect these resources and are compatible with other resource plans and economic development strategies.  This method will also allow locals to identify their priority needs to state agencies for both resource protection and public investment.  The legacy plan will clearly identify and prioritize opportunities for utilizing and coordinating state programs (particularly grant programs).      



Following is a summary of the status of each of the pilots with respect to these task: informing local stakeholders, development of resources inventory, development of system of plans, development of land use simulation model.

Peoria Pilot

The Peoria Pilot covers the counties of Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford.  The Tri-County Regional Planning Commission (TRPC) is the regional liaison. 

The TRPC is coordinating with local officials through the Peoria Mayor’s Vision 2020 project (see www//Vision2020.org).  Coordinating with the Vision 2020 has several advantages; local involvement, local control and cost savings—avoiding a duplicative process.  Decisions stay within the current local process and the state provides tools and information to guide decision making. 

TRPC is the lead for compiling the resource inventory.  TRPC is completing recent efforts to update natural resource inventories.  TRPC is coordinating with IDNR to secure relevant other natural resource databases.  In addition, TRCP is working towards updating cultural resource inventory, primarily through HARRGIS. 

TRPC, as the regional planning commission, has in its possession many of the plans necessary to construct a system of plans.  The TRPC is also partnering with the Vision 2020 task force, a group that is developing a regional strategic plan based on compiling existing plans.  These efforts continue.

TRPC is working with LEAM to provide updates to the LEAM model.  Primary efforts are focused on upgrading the transportation component of the LEAM and developing scenarios to analyze.

Metro-East Region

The Legacy Planning project in Southwestern Illinois began with informational meetings in mid-September of 2004.  Community leaders and resource specialists from Madison, St. Clair, Monroe, and Randolph counties attended these local meetings.  The meetings provided some informational background on the LEAM project and introduced Legacy Planning as a tool for planners.  Follow-up calls after the meetings produced positive feedback and support for the project.  Efforts to gather plans from communities and counties revealed that a significant portion of the region’s planning documents have not been updated for 40 years (or more).  Several communities are in the process of drafting new plans.  They have expressed interest in how Legacy Planning may relate to their planning efforts, but have no plans currently available to share with the region.  The Legacy Planning project has made a positive impact on the region by drawing attention to the need to develop and maintain current, relevant planning documents.

Requests for plans have resulted in success with the larger communities in the project area, as well of some smaller communities facing rapid growth.  Belleville, Brooklyn, Columbia, Edwardsville, East St. Louis, Glen Carbon, and Shiloh are a few of the communities that have shared their plans.  These plans have been converted into a digital format and brought into a Geographic Information System (GIS).  Each digitized plan is associated with an attribute table identifying the land use under three different classification systems:  the original land use from the plan; a standardized land use system that will be used to compare the plans; and a more generalized land use classification system that is similar to the LEAM output categories.  In addition to the land use plans, some communities provided trail and greenway maps, water and sewer line maps, and Facility Planning Area boundaries.  The effort to gather and digitize planning documents is ongoing.  Several different approaches are being implemented to reach out to communities that did not participate in the initial meetings.  Staff from Southwestern Illinois Resource Conservation and Development Council (SWIRC&D) has presented the project to the Southwestern Illinois City Managers Association at their regular meeting.  The network of partners and supporters of the SWIRC&D have shared information about the project with influential local leaders.  When no other avenue of contact is available, local community leaders and planners are being contacted individually by phone. 

Information on natural, cultural, and agricultural resources for the region has been gathered.  The SWIRC&D GIS Resource Center has been building on an extensive library of natural resource information.  Cultural resource information from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency is available digitally, but it is somewhat out of date.  IHPA has suggested a number of local citizens who can help update the information for their respective communities.  Agricultural data such as Prime & Important Farmland has been derived from detailed soil survey information.  State-designated Agricultural Areas and the Centennial and Sesquicentennial Farms in the region have been digitized.

Current tasks for the Legacy Planning project in Southwestern Illinois include; digitizing plans, following up with communities who have not shared their plans yet, and updating the cultural resource information with the help of local contacts.  In the very near future, the focus will shift to comparing planning documents to each other and to resource data. 

LEAM efforts to date include conducting preliminary model runs.  These model runs include a “business as usual” scenario, several transportation scenarios, an East St. Louis Redevelopment scenario, and a scenario examining the importance of Scott Air Force Base to the region [7]

McHenry County

The Northeastern Illinois Regional Planning Commission (NIPC) is assisting with the liaison functions for this region.  During the summer of 2004 various stakeholder groups were contacted to introduce them to the project and explain the Legacy proof of concept.  These groups included;

  • Organizations with working knowledge of environmental, agricultural, cultural issues and also organizations who could assist with providing relevant resource inventory data.
  • McHenry County Council of Governments
  • Members of Imagine McHenry County (members of development community)
  • Planning staffs from a variety of municipalities and the county

NIPC, State Agencies (Legacy) and U of I staff worked cooperatively to collect both legacy resource data as well as plans.  The nature and magnitude of this effort can be viewed on the public website (www.leam.uiuc.edu/legacy/mchenry) as well as in Appendix II.    Further, the U of I staff developed a preliminary LEAM run for McHenry County.  The resource inventory, system of plans and LEAM scenarios were showcased at a meeting of over 50 stakeholders in November 2004.  The impressive amount of material presented at this workshop is also presented in the Appendix II.  (The amount of data collected and mapped was too extensive—needs to be displayed in color--to be printed and subsequently were placed on a CD-ROM, Appendix II.)  Future efforts include using the website to survey and further engage stakeholders in terms of refining scenarios.  Following this survey effort will be a follow-up to present LEAM results relative to resource inventories and the outcomes of plans.


Based on efforts made on the Legacy pilots projects to this point, we have reached the following conclusions and recommendation:

  • Legacy resources are a key component for every region’s quality of life.  Lack of attention to protect these resources will result in negative changes in the characteristics of Illinois’ regions.  Many times, the full value of these legacy resources have not been sufficiently assessed and are noticeably unaccounted for when development decisions are made.  
  • Investments in resource protection and maintenance are more cost-effective and efficient than restoration efforts.  Creating sound strategies to achieve development objectives and legacy resource protection can be advanced by utilizing better planning tools.
  • Funds for legacy planning are necessary to address and complement private investments.  In order for Illinois to compete in the changing global environment, making improvements to local planning to enhance the performance of public and private investments is warranted. 
  • Advancement in planning tools can provide insights into land use conflicts and assist in building consensus on local and regional priorities.  These tools allow stakeholders to address potential conflicts between development and resource protection as an “upfront” process instead of waiting until decisions are already made. This legacy process can also assist state agencies in prioritizing their resource protection efforts.
  • Fiscal support for the approaches utilized in this pilot program will help guide better and more efficient coordination and prioritization of state investments.  The tools being explored in this proof of concept need to be advanced and made available to foster regional planning in other areas of the state.
  • The Legacy Act should be amended to allow regional groups to participate in their appropriate role.  As the Act stands now they are not included in the county-city partnerships.

Appendix I.

Local Legacy Act

HB0231eng 93rd General Assembly 093_HB0231eng


HB0231 Engrossed                     LRB093 03496 LCB 03525 b


 1        AN ACT to create the Local Legacy Act.


 2        Be  it  enacted  by  the People of the State of Illinois,

 3    represented in the General Assembly:


 4        Section 1.  Short title. This Act may  be  cited  as  the

 5    Local Legacy Act.


 6        Section 5.  Policy.

 7        (a)  Illinois  has  a rich natural and cultural heritage.

 8    Whether historic sites,  natural  areas,  rich  farmland,  or

 9    other  prized  resources,  every  county  has treasures worth

10    preserving for future generations.

11        (b)  As counties and municipalities grow, they  often  do

12    not have the opportunity to consider which resources are most

13    important  to  them.  Consequently,  they  may  inadvertently

14    imperil  a  historic  structure,  sever  a  potential natural

15    corridor, or fragment farmland into small  and  unsustainable

16    remnants.

17        (c)  It  is  necessary and desirable to provide technical

18    assistance and funding in the form  of  grants  to  encourage

19    partnerships  between  counties  and  municipalities  for the

20    creation of an inventory of their  natural  areas,  farmland,

21    and cultural assets and to develop a Resource Protection Plan

22    for protecting those areas.

23        (d)  It  is  the purpose of this Act to promote voluntary

24    county-municipal partnerships in every  county  by  the  year

25    2020   that   will   inventory  resources,  develop  Resource

26    Protection Plans, and implement their respective plans.


27        Section 10.  Definitions.  In this Act:

28        "Board" means the Local Legacy Board created  under  this

29    Act.

30        "Committee"  means a Local Steering Committee established


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 1    under this Act.

 2        "Cultural  resource"   means   a   structure,   building,

 3    district,   or   site   that  has  aesthetic,  architectural,

 4    cultural, archeological, or historical  significance  at  the

 5    local, state, or national level.

 6        "Farmland"   means   land   devoted   to  agriculture  or

 7    horticultural uses for  the  production  of  food  (including

 8    grains,  fruits,  vegetables,  dairy products, or mushrooms),

 9    fiber, floriculture, or forest products, or  the  raising  of

10    farm  animals  (including  livestock,  sheep,  swine, horses,

11    ponies, poultry, bees, or fish) or wildlife.

12        "Inventory"  means  a  listing  of  a  county's  and  its

13    municipalities'  natural  areas,   farmland,   and   cultural

14    resources.

15        "Natural area" means an area of land or water that either

16    retains or has recovered to a substantial degree its original

17    natural   or  primeval  character,  though  it  need  not  be

18    completely undisturbed, or has  floral,  faunal,  ecological,

19    geological,   or   archeological   features   of  scientific,

20    educational, recreational, scenic, or aesthetic interest.

21        "Program" means the Local Legacy Program.

22        "Resource", unless otherwise specified, means farmland, a

23    natural area, or a cultural resource.

24        "Resource Protection Plan" means an  integrated  document

25    that includes goals, policies, strategies, and procedures for

26    preserving   key   farmland,   natural  areas,  and  cultural

27    resources identified in a countywide inventory and adopted as

28    provided in Section 30 of this Act.


29        Section 15.  The Local Legacy Board.   The  Local  Legacy

30    Board  is  created  to administer the Program under this Act.

31    The membership of the Board shall be composed of the Director

32    of Natural Resources, the Director of Historic  Preservation,

33    and   the   Director  of  Agriculture,  or  their  respective


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 1    designees.  The Board must choose a Chairperson to serve  for

 2    2 years on a rotating basis.  All members must be present for

 3    the  Board to conduct official business. The Departments must

 4    each furnish technical support to the Board.

 5        The Board has those powers necessary  to  carry  out  the

 6    purposes  of  this  Act,  including,  without limitation, the

 7    power to:

 8             (1)  employ agents and employees necessary to  carry

 9        out  the purposes of this Act and fix their compensation,

10        benefits, terms, and conditions of employment;

11             (2)  adopt, alter and use a corporate seal;

12             (3)  have an audit  made  of  the  accounts  of  any

13        grantee  or  any  person  or entity that receives funding

14        under this Act;

15             (4)  enforce the terms of any grant made under  this

16        Act,  whether  in  law  or  equity, or by any other legal

17        means;

18             (5)  prepare and submit a  budget  and  request  for

19        appropriations for the necessary and contingent operating

20        expenses of the Board; and

21             (6)  receive  and  accept,  from  any source, aid or

22        contributions of money, property, labor, or  other  items

23        of  value for furtherance of any of its purposes, subject

24        to any conditions not inconsistent with this Act or  with

25        the laws of this State pertaining to those contributions,

26        including,  but  not  limited  to,  gifts, guarantees, or

27        grants from any department, agency, or instrumentality of

28        the United States of America.

29        The Board must adopt any rules, regulations,  guidelines,

30    and  directives  necessary  to  implement  the Act, including

31    guidelines for designing inventories so  that  they  will  be

32    compatible with each other.

33        The  Board  must  submit a report to the General Assembly

34    and the Governor  by  January  1,  2005  and  every  2  years


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 1    thereafter  regarding progress made towards accomplishing the

 2    purposes of this Act.


 3        Section 20.  Local  Legacy  Program.   The  Local  Legacy

 4    Program   is   created.    The   Board  shall  determine  the

 5    eligibility  of  county-municipal  partnerships  for  funding

 6    under the Program.  The purpose of the Program is to  provide

 7    grants  to counties and municipalities to (i) inventory their

 8    natural areas, farmland, and  cultural  resources;  and  (ii)

 9    develop Resource Protection Plans.


10        Section   25.    Local   Steering   Committee.   Counties

11    interested in assistance under this Act must form a  steering

12    committee  consisting  of  11  members  in  the  following  3

13    categories chosen according to the following requirements:

14             (1)  Three  members of the county board appointed by

15        the county board chairperson with the advice and  consent

16        of the county board.

17             (2)  Three elected municipal officials chosen by the

18        corporate    authorities    of    those    municipalities

19        participating in the county-municipal partnership.

20             (3)  Five  public  members  who  reside  within  the

21        county and are appointed by a majority vote of the county

22        board  members  and  elected  municipal  officials on the

23        Local Steering Committee, with one each representing  the

24        following categories:

25             (a)  Agriculture.

26             (b)  Environment.

27             (c)  Historic preservation.

28             (d)  Construction or development.

29             (e)  Citizen-at-large.

30        When the Committee is first established, one-third of the

31    members  of  each  category  shall  serve a term of one year;

32    one-third shall serve a term of 2 years; and one-third  shall


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 1    serve  a  term of 3 years, except for the public members, one

 2    of whom will serve for one year, 2 of whom shall serve for  2

 3    years,  and 2 of whom will serve for 3 years.  All subsequent

 4    members shall serve for a term of 3 years.  A  vacancy  shall

 5    be filled in the same manner as an original appointment.

 6        The  Chairperson  shall  be  chosen for a term of 2 years

 7    from among the members of the Committee by a majority vote of

 8    the Committee; all members of  the  Committee  including  the

 9    Chairperson have a vote.

10        The Committee shall adopt its own rules of operation.


11        Section 30.  Duties of the Local Steering Committee.  The

12    Local  Steering  Committee  shall have the authority to apply

13    for and receive grants to conduct an inventory and develop  a

14    Resource Protection Plan and to review all grant applications

15    from  units  of local government before they are submitted to

16    the Board.

17        The Local Steering Committee shall develop a strategy for

18    conducting an  inventory  of  natural  areas,  farmland,  and

19    cultural  resources.  The  Committee  shall  determine  which

20    resources  should be included in the inventory, the amount of

21    financial and technical assistance  needed  from  the  State,

22    what  information  is already available, who will conduct the

23    inventory,  how  municipal  and  county  efforts  should   be

24    coordinated, and how to present the information so that it is

25    compatible    with    inventories    conducted    by    other

26    county-municipal partnerships.

27        The  Committee  shall  use the inventory as the basis for

28    developing its Resource  Protection  Plan.   Working  with  a

29    professional   planner  or  other  resource  specialist,  the

30    Committee shall develop criteria for  prioritizing  resources

31    identified  by  the  inventory.  When prioritizing resources,

32    the Committee shall analyze the threat to the resources using

33    population projections, land use  patterns,  and  development


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 1    trends.  Upon the approval of two-thirds of its members, with

 2    at  least  one member from each of the 3 categories voting in

 3    approval, the Committee shall recommend that the county board

 4    and the municipalities within the county adopt  the  Resource

 5    Protection  Plan.  Amendments to the Resource Protection Plan

 6    must be approved in the same manner.  A local government  may

 7    object  to  all  or  part  of the Resource Protection Plan in

 8    writing.  If a written objection is filed with the Committee,

 9    the portion of the Plan objected to shall  not  be  effective

10    within  that local government's borders.  The objecting local

11    government may modify or withdraw its objection at any time.


12        Section 35.  Local Legacy Fund.  The Local Legacy Fund is

13    created as a special fund in the State treasury.  Subject  to

14    appropriation,  moneys  shall  be  transferred into the Local

15    Legacy Fund from the General Revenue Fund.  All  interest  or

16    other  earnings  that  accrue  from  investment  of the Local

17    Legacy Fund moneys shall be  credited  to  the  Local  Legacy

18    Fund.   The  Local  Legacy Fund shall be used by the Board to

19    make grants to counties and municipalities  for  inventorying

20    and planning for preservation of farmland, natural areas, and

21    cultural resources.


22        Section  40.   Consideration of State grant awards.  When

23    approving grant awards under this Act, the Board or the State

24    agency,  as  the  case  may  be,  shall   give   preferential

25    consideration   to  counties  and  municipalities  that  have

26    adopted Resource Protection Plans.


27        Section 90.  The State Finance Act is amended  by  adding

28    Section 5.595 as follows:


29        (30 ILCS 105/5.595 new)

30        Sec. 5.595.  The Local Legacy Fund.



[1] Legacy Resources as defined by the Act include agricultural, cultural and natural resources.

[2] Section 15 part (6) of the Act requires “(T)he Board must submit a report to the General Assembly and the Governor by January 1, 2005 and every 2 years thereafter regarding progress made towards accomplishing the purposes of this Act”.

[3] This observation has been advanced by staff of IDNR in their research report, “Changing Illinois Landscape.” 2001.

[4] See, Urban Development:  The Logic of Making Plans by Lewis Hopkins, Island Press, 2001.

[5] The U of I’s land use model acronym is LEAM or Land-use Evolution and impact Assessment Model.


[6] The Local Technical Assistance and Planning Act was also passed without funds for implementation.  The proof of  concept advanced in this project also addresses components of that bill.

[7] The LEAM effort is in partnership with East-West Gateway Council of Governments and is part of the Gateway Blueprint Project.


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