2017 Fall Greenways Conference!

The McLean County Regional Planning Commission and the Town of Normal invite you to the 2017 Fall Greenways Conference. Held every other year, this conference showcases our community's greenways--narrow bands of open spaces that can provide habitat for wildlife, provide essential routes for species migration, filter pollutants from water, enhance scenic and aesthetic qualities, and in many instances expand recreational as well as social, cultural, and economic opportunities. The conference is a chance for anyone who cares about our greenways to come together to mingle, learn from each other, and get inspired.

This fall's event, held at Uptown Station on November 3, features Jeff Walk of the Nature Conservancy as our keynote speaker, who will open the event with a presentation on the benefits of green infrastructure for watersheds. The Agricultural Watershed Institute's Steve John will close the event with a discussion of the renewable energy potential of perennial prairie grasses. In between, we'll hear about:

  • Outdoor Recreational Opportunities: What's Available Right Now?, featuring:
    • Terry Brown, Pantagraph Outdoor Editor and President of 
    • Bill Davison, Educator at the University of Illinois Extension
    • Mike Steffa, Director of Parks and Recreation for McLean County
  • Stewardship of Urban Waterways: Sugar Creek
  • Greenways Opportunities Throughout the Region, featuring:
    • Angela Funk, Director of the Sugar Grove Nature Center
    • Erin Herbez, Administrative Director of the ParkLands Foundation. Introduction by Joan Brehm, professor of Environmental Sociology at ISU.

We'll conclude with an optional tour of Uptown Normal after Mr. John's talk.

Event Details and Registration

When: Friday, November 3rd, 2017 from 8:30 AM to 2:30 PM.

Registration is $25 per attendee and includes lunch. Registration is available online. Registration is open until Friday, October 27th, 2017. UPDATE 11/1/2017: Registration is now closed.

Can't make it? We'll post conference materials, including PowerPoints, on this page after the event.

UPDATE 10/25/2017: The American Planning Association (APA) has approved 1 CM credit for each session. 

How to get there: The conference will be on the 4th floor of Uptown Station, located at 11 Uptown Circle in Uptown Normal. (See map below. Click “View larger map” within the thumbnail to launch the full Google Maps site and get directions.)

By Car:  Follow the Google Maps directions, and park in the attached public parking deck, which you access off West Beaufort. Grab a ticket on your way into the deck, and we will provide you a voucher to exit the deck for free. Park on any floor and use the elevator or stair tower to access the 4th floor.

By Bus:  All of the Connect Transit buses stop at Uptown Station. Visit to find your route. The Connect Transit app is excellent as well. Trips cost $1.

By Bike: Uptown Station is conveniently located adjacent to the Constitution Trail. There is covered parking on the ground level of the attached parking deck in the bus bay.

Questions about the event? Contact Jordan Brown at, Vasudha Pinnamaraju at, or (309) 828-4331.

The McLean County Greenways Advisory Committee has served for over 20 years as an umbrella organization for local government staff, local agencies, and individuals with greenway interests. This broad-based organization has had an important role working in cooperation with the McLean County Regional Planning Commission in preparing and updating the Regional Greenways Plan. The Committee also assists in carrying out the plan through advocacy, education, and the establishment of a permanent organization to coordinate the implementation and management of greenways for McLean County.

The Committee meets every other month, with an Executive Committee meeting in months in between.

Study: "Valuing Public Goods, the Time to Capitalization, and Network Externalities: A Spatial Hedonic Regression Analysis" by Adrienne Ohler, Ph.D., and German Blanco, Ph.D.
This February 2017 study, by two Economics professors at Illinois State University (ISU), reevaluates a commonly used method of estimating the value of public goods. The authors focus specifically on the effect of bike trails on Bloomington-Normal housing prices. They find that trails that are connected to desirable destinations become more valuable over time as people learn more about them and as attitudes toward biking and bike trails become more positive. Abstract below:
ABSTRACT: Valuation studies of public goods, such as a bike trail, typically fail to consider the time to capitalization. Expanding upon previous hedonic housing models, we show that the years since development of a bike trail has an initial negative impact on prices, but over time the value of the trail turns positive, suggesting network effects and information costs impact valuation estimates. Additional analysis finds that networked trail access has a greater impact than non-networked trail access. (JEL H41, Q51)
The full study can be found at (requires a subscription to Land Economics to download).
November 10, 2016: Gray or Green: The Role of Watershed-Scale Infrastructure Systems for Waste Water Treatment (Presentation):

Summer 2015 McLean County Greenways Newsletter

Spring 2015 McLean County Greenways Newsletter

Winter 2015 Greenways Newsletter

Fall 2014 Greenways Newsletter

Summer 2014 Greenways Newsletter

Spring 2014 Greenways Newsletter

Winter 2013-2014 Greenways Newsletter


Spring 2013 Greenways Newsletter