A website compiling information about resources rural communities can use is making progress, according to the director of the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs.
“We have 297 programs focused on community and economic development from the various state agencies, federal agencies, and nonprofit organizations, and we were only about 34 percent up to date, as of 2012,” Chris Merrett told the Governor's Rural Affairs Council. “Sept. 1 of this year, we have tallied 351 programs with 281 up-to-date for 80 percent.”
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What's more, Merrett's group – based at Western Illinois University – is conducting a survey. “We did this about three years ago, and we're doing another statewide poll of rural development issues,” he says. “The kinds of questions we're asking have to do with community quality of life, access to infrastructure, access to health care, and a range of issues affecting rural communities.”