By Bob Balgemann


Planning department staff are continuing to prepare an update to the 1999 Boone County Comprehensive Plan, with it’s unveiling slated for this summer.

It’s a multi-faceted document that includes education, the environment, housing, recreation, land use, transportation, safety, and health and wellness. An action plan has been developed with various strategies for improvements in each of those areas.

Health care is an integral part of the update because it affects so many of the county’s 54,000 residents. And Amanda Mehl, Health Dept. Administrator, is making sure input from the County Board is a part of the short term and long-range vision.

The Health Dept. also is working on its Illinois Plan of Local Area Needs (IPLAN), which includes the development of strategic health priorities through a process called Mobilizing Action for Planners and Partnerships, or MAPP. The Health Dept. and County Planning Dept. have been working to link the County Comprehensive Plan and the Health Dept.’s IPLAN over the past nine months.

Administrator Mehl reminded board members Feb. 21 of continuing work on linking the comp plan with the health dept.’s IPLAN. She noted that some homework had been included in the packet for that night’s meeting. Part of a test that was in the packet was to be taken up Feb. 21, and conclude at the March 21 meeting.

“We’re required to have local input on the strategic planning process, so that’s where all of you come in,” she told the full, 12-member board that was in attendance at February’s monthly meeting. “We really value your input.”

The meeting packet contained a memorandum to each board member, explaining the enclosed Forces of Change Assessment worksheet.

Initially, the memo explained that Forces of Change was the final assessment in the health dept.’s process of Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships. The worksheet was designed to help board members think about the forces of change that may influence the health of Belvidere, of the county’s health system as a whole.

What are forces of change?

The memo described them as being trends, factors and events “that may influence the health of the community or the local health system, both in the recent past and foreseeable future.” Those elements were described as followed:

– Trends are patterns over time, such as migration in and out of a community, or a growing disillusionment with government.

– Factors are discrete elements such as a community’s large ethnic population, an urban setting or a jurisdiction’s proximity to a major waterway.

– Events are one-time occurrences, such as a natural disaster or the passage of new legislation.

Typical forces of change are legal/political, environmental, social/cultural, economic, medical/health care and community/neighborhoods/housing.

Board members were asked to review the strengths and weaknesses columns under each of those forces of change and indicate if they thought those factors were opportunities or threats/challenges.

The first force of change coming up at the board meeting was…

For full article, pick up the April 1 Belvidere Daily Republican.

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