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Brilliant.Bright.Community Project

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Brilliant. Bright. Community. is a regional effort to create and implement a long-range sustainability plan for Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford Counties of Central Illinois.  Program goals:

  • Provide more transportation options.
  • Promote equitable, affordable housing.
  • Enhance economic competitiveness.
  • Support existing communities.
  • Coordinate policies and leverage investment.
  • Value communities and neighborhoods.
  • Facilitate strong alliances of residents and regional interest groups to maintain a long term vision.

This Regional Sustainability Planning program is funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program.  The planning process is lead by the Heart of Illinois Sustainability Consortium.  Consortium member organizations are as follows:

  • Peoria Park District – Youth and Outreach Intervention Program
  • Economic Development Council for Central Illinois
  • Peoria County
  • Illinois Central College
  • Arts Partners of Central Illinois
  • Peoria Opportunities Foundation
  • Peoria Housing Authority
  • City of Peoria
  • Illinois River Valley Council of Governments
  • City of East Peoria
  • University of Illinois Extension Office

Navigate to the Heart of Illinois Sustainability Consortium Work Plan.


Central Illinois is a beautiful place because you are there.  Thank you for being a part of our Brilliant.Bright.Community.

The work that provided the basis for this publication was supported by funding under an award with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public.  The author and publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations contained in this publication.  Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Government.

Community Survey Work


As part of the broader Heart of Illinois Consortium (HISC) work plan and Brilliant. Bright. community. effort, the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission (TCRPC) conducted a survey of persons living with Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford counties.  The survey—done in accordance with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Sustainability Regional Planning Grant received by HISC—was developed in collaboration with the Stevenson Center for Applied Community and Economic Development at Illinois State University. This project was executed over approximately ten months, beginning in late August of 2011. The overarching goals are to incorporate citizen input to guide preparation of the area’s long-term sustainability blueprint facilitate implementation of said plan. Yet, this also serves to create name recognition and build awareness of HISC’s efforts.


Some  Findings

Tri-county residents tend to consider sustainable community development as more important than how well it is being provided, meaning they want to see more of it and would endorse TCRPC and HISC efforts. Looking at individual planning focus areas, one stands out: economic development. Issues of economic stability and growth are prominent for residents, ranked as most important for development and perceived to be currently lacking. Respondents also report significant deficits in the provision of alternative commuting options and environmental sustainability in comparison to their importance. In regards to issues surrounding aspects of local foods, public transportation, and arts and culture there is alignment between levels of importance and provision in residents’ minds. The only area with evidence of being provided at or above its level of accorded importance at present is housing. However, all aspects fall short of being considered ‘well provided.’


Appendix A:  General Outlook on Personal and Community Well-Being- Sample Survey

Appendix B:  Current State of the Tri-County Area- Sample Survey

Appendix C:  Drop-Off/Pick-Up Methodology Overview

Appendix D:  Drop-Off/Pick-Up Survey Methodology

Appendix E:  Postcard Content

Appendix F:  Survey Introduction Script

Appendix G:  Cover Letter Sample

Appendix H:  Volunteer Letter Sample


Tri-County Mapping

Interactive Tri-County Data


B.B.C. is a proud partner of the ELITE Youth Program

TCRPC Commission Meeting: Frank Knott's Economic Development Strategy

Regional Sustainability Effort

ELITE - Best of 2012: A Brilliant.Bright.Community. Partner

For more videos see TCRPC's Vimeo page!


Regional Scenario Planning Mapping Event

Brilliant.Bright.Community Blog

Brilliant.Bright.Community. HOI Sustainability DRAFT Plan Available for Review

The first draft of the Brilliant.Bright.Community. Heart of Illinois Regional Sustainability Plan is now available for review.  The plan is the result of several years of hard work by Heart of Illinois Sustainability Consortium (HISC) members, project partners, and TCRPC staff.  The draft addresses the existing conditions and future goals for transportation, land use, environment, housing, arts and culture, economic development,  and food.  Additionally, our scenario planning process and community feedback processes are discussed.  Please navigate to the draft plan by clicking on the link below:

Brilliant.Bright.Community Heart of Illinois Sustainability DRAFT Plan

Please note that this draft document does not include all final elements.  The final draft will be interactive and will include a regional map, several videos, and links to related webpages.  

Please send your comments, questions, or concerns to Nick Hayward at nhayward@tricountyrpc.org or 309-673-9330.  

Public engagement opportunties

We have some public engagement opportunities coming up that you may not want to miss!

First, TCRPC planner, Katy Shakelford will be guiding the region through land use scenario planning and mapping at Peoria HUB on Wed, Sept 25, 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm.  Check it out.


Second, TCRPC planner, Melissa  Eaton will be meeting with the environmental community to review all goals for the regional sustainability plan at Forest Park Nature Center on Tuesday, Sept 3, 6 pm - 8 pm. Register today!


Focus Forward CI

The economic development planning portion of this HUD Sustainable Communities initiative has taken on a life of its own!  If you choose to explore Focus Forward CI's website you will see that dozens of committed hard working economic professionals are volunteering their time and resources to create an economic development strategy that works off of the region's assets to promote innovation, entrepreneurship, and prosperity.    Welcome them to Facebook with a "like", attend one of the many public meetings, and by all means, participate in the region's endeavors to create an even better tomorrow.

Housing Kickoff Meeting

Over 50 housing stakeholders from throughout the Tri-County region gathered last Wednesday at the Regional Housing Plan Kickoff Meeting. The Regional Housing Plan, part of the Brilliant.Bright.Community planning effort, will identify needs and list actions to address the needs in four topic areas: affordable housing; accessible housing; jobs-housing balance; and energy efficiency of housing. A Regional Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing, or Regional AI, also will be developed as part of the Brilliant.Bright.Community effort. The Regional AI will examine the state of fair housing in the Tri-County region and identify ways in which impediments to fair housing can be addressed.

Meeting attendees heard presentations about these planning processes, provided their vision for housing in a sustainable region, and participated in small group discussions about regional housing needs and solutions. They even decorated individual cardboard houses to create a "neighborhood" that expressed their vision of housing in the region.

These planning processes are just now getting underway, and TCRPC is interested in obtaining input from all who are interested in housing so that an effective plan can be crafted for the region. For more information about these processes and to receive updates on the Regional Housing Plan, please contact Nick Hayward at nhayward@tricountyrpc.org.

InterBusiness Issues features sustainability

A Peoria magazine, InterBusiness Issues, featured sustainability for the month of September.  In addition to the Brilliant.Bright.Community project, there are great articles on local food economies, wellness and healthcare, sustainable energy, and more.  This publication is a great way to stay tuned to what is happening in the region.


Tri-County Regional Planning Commission

456 Fulton Street
Suite 401
Peoria, IL 61602

Phone: 309.673.9330
Fax: 309.673.9802