Municipal economic development initiatives seek to build vibrant places, enhance job centers and commercial corridors, or retain and build existing industries. Such local efforts vary greatly in scope, from small-scale main street improvements to redevelopment of major office and industrial subcenters. Regardless of its scale, each activity needs municipal staff and elected officials with the knowledge and resources to carry out strategies appropriately, including infrastructure investment, economic development planning, business development, and incentives.

Municipal staff and officials interviewed through the ON TO 2050 planning process emphasized the need for more skill building resources and guidance on economic development best practices.{{Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, “ON TO 2050 Alternative Futures Engagement Summary,” 2017,}} New trainings and resources can also build on the incentive, market, and fiscal feasibility recommendations of ON TO 2050, helping to improve local planning, development, and investment processes. In partnership with COGs, counties, civic organizations, and universities, CMAP should provide technical assistance for communities to build local capacity for economic development planning.

Action 1

Provide tools to help local governments effectively use incentives, taking into account the full costs of related public services, initial infrastructure improvements, and future infrastructure maintenance.


CMAP and partners, such as ULI

Action 2

Provide guidance to local partners on best practices for zoning, permitting, development regulation, market analysis, tax incentives, and transportation funding that support economic productivity and reduce market barriers.


Partners and CMAP

Action 3

Establish regular trainings, networking events, and other resources to promote best practices on joint economic development initiatives, economic development planning, incentive policies, market analysis, business attraction and retention, and related topics.


Partners, educational institutions, and CMAP

Action 4

Explore partnerships like the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville team that leads the Illinois Basic Economic Development Course to create similar offerings tailored for staff and elected officials.{{Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, “Illinois Basic Economic Development Course,”}}


CMAP and Metropolitan Mayors Caucus