Seven northern Illinois counties are in talks over forming a regional planning partnership aimed at increasing economic development and the quality of life in the area.
The counties interested in forming the planning commission include Winnebago, Boone, Stephenson, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb and McHenry Counties, according to the Rockford Register Star. Local leaders say a planning alliance would help make the region more globally competitive for jobs and development projects.
"We haven't yet begun to tap our potential as a northern Illinois region," Rochelle's economic development director Jason Anderson told the newspaper. "Boy, I hope we can think this way: region first, community second."
The idea for the seven-county planning alliance was prompted by the desire for regional leaders to secure the 275-mile Great Lakes Basin railroad project being proposed by investors. The proposed rail line would bypass Chicago, running from Wisconsin through Illinois to Indiana.