Public Transportation

I hope that you have had the chance to read the article in last Saturday’s Morris Daily Herald about the “first ever” meeting on public transportation in Grundy County.  The meeting last Friday was hosted by Richard Joyce of the Grundy County board and the Morris Community Foundation.  “Thank you” to all who attended!


We’d like to highlight this meeting as another example of our “value added” services to the community.  The mission of the Morris Community Foundation is to use the tools available to us to maintain and improve the quality of life in Grundy County.  We believe that one way to do this is to partner with other organizations to explore issues and perhaps find new ways of doing things.  Past public forums hosted by the Foundation include the topics of child care, subdivision design, environmental health, local solutions for public school funding, and stormwater management.


We are also proud that we initiated the work and survey that led to the Morris park district referendum and that we “stirred the pot” by offering to fund a study for the four public school districts in Morris.  While it may look like these projects failed, we believe that good did come from them.  When the park district referendum did not pass, we approached the YMCA and they have responded by bringing summer day camp and their Youth Basketball League to Morris.  Even though the four public school districts did not participate in a study, the idea got many people talking and School District #54 formed a finance advisory committee.


Some things take time.  Maybe our “failures” will turn out to be successes after all.  The key is to use our tools to keep plugging away at issues.  A year or so ago we were at a meeting and heard Jim Baum’s new favorite phrase: “You can’t make a pickle by squirting vinegar on a cucumber.  It has to sit and soak for a while.”


Last week’s transportation meeting is already a success as it brought people together to begin working on a critical issue in our county.  Even though we are still a very car-reliant county, we have a growing population and a growing number of residents who do not have access to a vehicle because they cannot afford one, they cannot afford to get their car repaired, or they do not have a driver’s license for one reason or another.


Increasing public transportation in Grundy County also addresses the larger issue of the environment.  I-80 and I-55 are flooded each morning and afternoon with single-occupant vehicles heading to and from work.  A huge cheer went up in the room at the transportation meeting when Barbara Ladner of Pace offered to work with us on van pooling and similar Pace resources.  Even though Grundy County is outside Pace’s territory, it is possible for them to partner with us if one end of the trip is in their territory.  This opens up the possibility of getting Grundy residents to JJC for education and training, to downtown Joliet to the Metra station, and to job hubs in Will, DuPage, and Cook Counties.


We will be hosting additional public transportation meetings over the next six to twelve months.  Our next task is to expand our current stakeholders’ list.  If you are interested in participating in future transportation meetings, please call me at 815-941-0852.


In the meantime, we will keep plugging away at critical issues in our county.  Who knew the Morris Community Foundation would be in the pickle business!