Click the link below to view a presentation on the Evolution & History of MCRPC.

Evolution from beginning to early 2022


  • In 1966, the Bloomington and Normal combined population exceeded 50,000 people, and made our community eligible to establish an MPO serving a Metropolitan Planning Area (MPA)
  • From April 1967 through May 1968, the organization of the RPC was defined by a 7-person steering committee; by-laws were adopted, the Commission was organized and adopted a Regional Service Agreement with the County, City and Town.
  • In June 1967, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development certified MCRPC as the Areawide Review Agency for all applications for Federal funding in McLean County
  • In January 1968, the McLean County Board formed MCRPC.  The new RPC was  also designated as the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). 35 Commission members were appointed to the Regional Planning Commission to represent all the incorporated communities in McLean County
  • In June 1968 the first executive director and principal planner were hired. Preparation began for development of a comprehensive regional plan for the County and management of the review process for Federally funded projects throughout the community.
  • Initial funding came only from the local governments, with McLean County providing more than 49% of the total budget of $39,846 in the first year. By the end of 1969, 47% of the proposed 1970 budget came from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • As of January 1969, the Areawide Review included the following projects:
  • Bloomington, for the acquisition of land for Ewing Park expansion
  • B-N Airport Authority construction of a runway extension 
  • McLean County, for expansion of the County Conservation Area
  • Normal, for assistance in updating the Town comprehensive plan
  • Funding was requested for improvement of portions of Route 66 to Interstate 55 standards through the County
  • Tasks included planning services for Bloomington and Normal and surrounding communities, and the update of the McLean County Transportation Study.  For the latter, geographic data was collected and inventories of economic factors, land use and population by location.
  • Research was conducted regarding social characteristics of the community, transportation facilities and projected needs and financial resources for the transportation system.
  • MCRPC began work on regional development policy standards, planning coordination, a regional facilities study, a regional housing analysis and a comprehensive plan for the Village of McLean.
  • In 1969 the Commission structure revised from 35 members to 13 members appointed by McLean County, City of Bloomington, Town of Normal
Annual Reports

1969 - #1

1969 - #2



  • In 1972 the Commission membership structure was reorganized; 66% of members were drawn from the County Board, Bloomington City Council and Normal Town Council, with a total of 13 members

  • In 1972 MCRPC was also designated as the review agency for implementation of Title IV of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act of 1968. Under the review provisions and other tasks Agency projects included:
  • In 1975 staff peaked at ten planners; hired first transportation planners in 1974
  • Work program developed in both comprehensive and transportation planning, rural municipality comprehensive planning and ordinances, and ancillary projects in urban area; additional work conducted on housing, social services, solid waste management, regional water planning, federally supported sewer and street upgrades, and the transportation study.
  • Diversified funding, including federal housing and transportation funds; HUD and USDOT funding equal by 1979
Regional Housing Initiatives
  • MCRPC continued as the Areawide Review Agency for all federal funded projects’ consistency with regional and local plans, under Section 204 of the Demonstration Cities and Metropolitan Development Act of 1966.  Projects included Oversight of HUD submissions regarding low-income housing and multi-family housing development and the housing report

Comprehensive Planning
  • Subdivision ordinance and zoning code updates for local governments

  • Saybrook and LeFoy zoning ordinance
  • Ordinance and plan development for Arrowsmith and Towanda
  • Land Use and Regional Development Plans
  • Regional Comprehensive Development Guide
  • Land Use and Housing elements of the Comprehensive Development Guide
  • Annexation Financial Impact Analysis for Bloomington and Normal
  • Transportation Planning
  • From the early 1970s onward the Transportation Study became more central to the planning program. 
  • Public Transit study
Social Service Planning
  • Social Service Inventory

  • Social services planning program
  • Ongoing urban renewal projects
  • Human Services Goals and Objectives Report
  • Human Services Plan for McLean County
Infrastructure/ Environmental Planning
  • Solid Waste and Water Resources studies

  • Park and community facilities improvements
  • Evergreen Lake Development Plan
  • County-wide water and sewer study
  • Municipal Needs Analysis for Illinois EPA
  • Water Resources Plan
  • Hazardous Materials Transportation and Storage recommendations
  • Paramedic and Emergency Telephone System (911) studies
  • Administration of the Emergency Employment Act grants
  • Natural Resources Plan
Special Projects
  • Assistance during Library construction
  • Bloomington Central Area Development Plan
  • Normal Central Area Development Plan
  • Bloomington Beautification Plan and Tree Planting Policy
  • Administration of Manpower Plan grants
  • Bloomington West Side Development Committee
  • Continuing Technical Assistance

Annual Reports

1971 - #4

1972 - #5

1973 - #6








  • Transportation funding began to outpace HUD funding, which ceased to be used by end of decade
  • As of 1982 the number of planning staff had fallen to six
  • Executive director Herman Dirks succeeded by former principal planner Ken Emmons
Regional Housing Initiatives
  • Assistance to Village of McLean for HUD program

  • Continued assistance to the municipalities with Community Development Block Grants
  • Review of applications for Federal funding continued under the aegis of Executive Order
Transportation Planning
  • Expansion of transportation program tasks

  • Route 9 West Development Guide
  • MCRPC continued project reviews and technical support for local jurisdictions, but spent most of its resources on various aspects of transportation planning.
Social Service Planning
  • Mid Central Community Action planning assistance

Infrastructure/ Environmental Planning
  • Land and Water Conservation Grant

  • Regional Stormwater Study
  • Federal Flood Insurance Program Management
  • Public Building Energy Audits
  • MCRPC began a major Solid Waste Management study.
  • Economic Development Assistance
  • Planning Assistance to the McLean County Economic Opportunity Corporation
  • Industrial/Economic Development programs
  • Enterprise Zone delineation and qualification
  • Economic Development site location mapping for the Economic Development Council
Data, Information and Mapping
  • 1980 Census liaison, including Neighborhood Statistics Program

  • Employment Generation Forecasts and Development Priorities Report
  • Rural Road Reference System for McLean County Highway Department
  • District 87 Student Population Forecasting Report
  • 1980 Census certification and analysis
  • Short Range Transportation Plan, FY 1985 – 1989
Special Projects
  • West Side Development Guide

  • Northwest Area Development Guide
  • John M. Scott Health Care Recommendations Report

Annual Reports










  • In 1992, MCRPC noted its 25th anniversary, and a reorganization of the structure of the commission and the professional staff to emphasize long-range planning issues and citizen involvement, in light of the very rapid growth of the community over the 25 years since the Commission was established.
  • The decade was characterized by major staffing changes at MCRPC. In 1993, the Commission created an Executive Committee to expedite routine matters, and reformed the Commission membership to include the local school districts, the Airport Authority, and the Bloomington-Normal Water Reclamation District.
  • 1994, a new Executive Director, Paul Russell joined the staff, which he would lead until his retirement in 2013
Comprehensive planning
  • 1990 land use survey of unincorporated McLean County
  • Developed McLean County Comprehensive Plan
  • Assisted the Town with their first Visioning project – Town of Normal 2015 report.
  • Developed comprehensive plans for Danvers and LeRoy
Transportation planning
  • Established Traffic Analysis Zones (TAZ) for use in transportation planning
  • Conducted a survey of bus ridership for the Bloomington-Normal Public Transit System (BNPTS)
  • In 1994, the second Long-Range Transportation Plan was developed and adopted
  • Initiated work on a regional travel demand model
  • Carried out the development of a regional Bicycle-Pedestrian Plan
  • Began an alignment study for Mitsubishi Motorway
  • Transportation program included East Side Corridor feasibility study
  • In 1999, an update of the Long Range Transportation Plan was completed
Data and Information and Mapping
  • Joint aerial imagery project spearheaded by MCRPC as precursor to regional GIS development
  • Served as the driving force in the creation of the McLean County GIS Consortium (MCGIS);
  • Coordinated the joint development of a regional GIS
  • Disseminated data from 1990 Census
  • Prepared for the 2000 Census
Special Projects
  • Historic Building survey for Bloomington
  • A substantial grant contributed to the Solid Waste Needs Assessment
  • Continued technical assistance to local planning work
  • Created draft of regional water needs intergovernmental agreement
  • Began the intergovernmental development review process in 1995
  • Developed the Regional Greenways Plan, subsequently adopted by the City of Bloomington, Town of Normal, and McLean County
  • Assisted in standardizing subdivision for Bloomington, Normal and McLean Counter
  • Developed the Southwest Bloomington Plan in response to rapid growth

Annual Reports







  • In 2001, MCRPC and others executed the intergovernmental agreement creating the regional GIS consortium McGIS and establishing MCRPC as the lead agency
Comprehensive planning
  • City of Lexington Comprehensive Plan & Subdivision Ordinance in 2004

  • City of Bloomington Plan update in 2005
  • Town of Normal Plan update in 2006
  • Logan County comprehensive plan and regional greenways plan in 2007, incorporating comprehensive plan updates for Lincoln, Atlanta, Mt. Pulaski and Elkhart
  • Comprehensive plan updates for rural communities in McLean County including the City of Chenoa and the Village of Carlock
  • McLean County Comprehensive Plan and Greenways plan update in 2009
Data and Information and Mapping

As McGIS got underway, early implementation included:

  • Aerial Photography

  • ArcGIS Training
  • Cadastral Mapping / Transition from Sidwell to GIS
  • Digital Submittal of Plats
  • Downs / Lexington Topographic Mapping Project
  • E911 Addressing
  • FEMA / Soils Data
  • GIS Day
  • GPS Integration
  • Intranet Map Server
  • Map Book
  • Subscriptions / Data Pricing
  • GIS staff continued ongoing tasks and added GPS Cost Estimates, Recorders Fee Increase Cost Justification Study, GIS Benefits Presentation to their tasks, Aerial Photography Distribution, Cadastral Maintenance, GPS Data Acquisition, Street Maintenance / Street Map; Voting Precinct Maps, the addition of a cadastral data annotation project and a PDF edition of the map book, new Orthophotography and LiDAR project with broader coverage of the County, development of a GIS Needs Assessment and Strategic Action Plan
Transportation planning
  • MCRPC began reorganization of transportation planning tasks

  • East Side Highway
  • Corridor feasibility study concluded; MCRPC staff conducted public information meetings in urbanized area communities
  • Conducted a multi-jurisdictional review of the East Side Corridor findings and project status
  • Updated the Long-Range Transportation Plan 2030
  • The Long Range Transportation Plan 2035 was completed and adopted
  • MCRPC became the regional coordination of the Illinois Region 6 HSTP planning process


  • Executive Director Paul Russell, AICP retired after 20 years heading MCRPC; The Commission than selected Vasudha Gadhiraju, AICP as the new Executive Director in August 2013, she left in 2019. Ray Lai was selected as new Executive Director in January 2020. 
  • Reinvented RPC as a regional partner and began engaging the community more broadly and deeply
  • Developed an online and social media presence
Comprehensive planning
  • Continued the intergovernmental development review process

  • MCRPC has overhauled planning processes, particularly for the Comprehensive Plans. Emphasized broad community engagement. Recognized community intersections (between public health, economic development, arts and culture, technology, social justice and sustainability) and how planning makes a difference
  • MCRPC authored a new comprehensive plan for the City of Bloomington which was completed and adopted in 2015. This plan, popularly known as Bring It On, was awarded the Daniel Burnham Award for outstanding comprehensive plan, by American Planning Association- Illinois Chapter. It was also recognized at silver level as part of the Comprehensive Plan Standards for Sustaining Places Recognition Program Pilot by national American Planning Association.   
  • MCRPC authored a new comprehensive plan for Town of Normal, which was completed and adopted in 2017.
  • Reemphasized the long standing Greenways Advisory Committee
  • MCRPC was a key partner in preparing and implementing the BN Advantage- the regional economic development study
Transportation planning
  • Produced the first Region 6 Human Services Transportation Plan

  • Began its participation in the East Side Highway Phase 1 Engineering Study, including participation in the Project Study Group
  • Partnered with the Tri-County RPC in developing an interim off-road bicycle trail to connect the Bloomington-Normal Constitution Trail and the Peoria area River Trail of Illinois
  • Developed the Long-Range Transportation Plan 2040 and formulated a test of performance measure transportation planning
  • Initiated and administered the Main Street Feasibility Study, to assess feasibilities and priorities for transportation-related improvements proposed in the Main Street: A Call for Investment adopted plan
  • Regional Freight Study
  • The Long Range Plan 2045 – BN Mobile was completed and adopted
Data, Information and Mapping
  • Initiated a comprehensive planning process to steer future GIS development

  • Led the development of GIS applications and improved websites for public and intranet access
  • Updated the Natural Resource Inventory for McLean County
  • Increased role in analyzing other forms of economic and transportation data
  • In 2017, McGIS administration was transferred to the McLean County IT department
  • MCRPC began coordinating the BN Advantage Indicators and Metrics Task Force since 2016. MCRPC is in charge of gathering and distributing over 200 data points via a dashboard as part of this project.
Regional Housing Initiatives
  • Completed BN Home – The first Regional Housing Study in 2017.

  • Established regional housing groups to work on affordable and supportive housing issues as well as innovative housing solutions at a regional level.
  • Began working on a regional consolidated plan for Bloomington and Normal to satisfy the Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)
Special Projects
  • Began partnership with the West Bloomington Revitalization Project
  • Facilitated continued progress on the Historic Route 66 Trail and began membership on the Route 66 State Trail Executive Committee
  • Completed a neighborhood plan for Dimmitt’s Grove Neighborhood; This plan was developed to serve as a template for other neighborhood plans in the community.