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Close the Gap


The Close the Gap Plan calls for creating vibrant places that are more livable and walkable, where people are better connected to jobs, education and other destinations through a robust regional transit network.

In the summer of 2016, the Heartland 2050 Executive Committee endorsed the “Close the Gap” Plan as the project’s “big idea,” or primary focus area. We’ve looked at success stories from other metro areas, where these types of investments have transformed local communities and yielded significant economic growth. We believe this model can have a similar impact on our metro region. The plan has many applications.


Clustering residential, office, entertainment, and shopping in mixed use areas makes walking more attractive. Building in lets people live closer to work and spend less time in traffic. Demographic shifts mean that the demand for small lot, single family homes, townhomes, and multifamily housing will increase greatly over the next 30 years. A balanced mix of housing options will help people find places to live that they want and can afford.

Robust Transportation

Securing regional funding will not only help us maintain and expand our infrastructure, but will provide more opportunities to reduce future congestion through new roads, transit, walking and biking trails.

We plan to Close the Gap:

  • On the lack of transportation access to jobs and education
  • In “Brain Drain” by attracting and retaining more local talent
  • Of significant racial and ethnic disparities in income and educational attainment
  • Between neighborhood nodes, town centers and corridors that are isolated and difficult to reach without a vehicle
  • Between infrastructure needs and available funding
  • In transportation, by increasing options for multi-modal transportation, such as walking, biking and public transit