Paxton Progress chosen as name of community-planning group

PAXTON — Paxton Progress is the new name of the community-planning group participating in the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs’ MAPPING the Future of Your Community program.

Via online voting that concluded Wednesday, Nov. 8, the group selected its name from among four finalists, with Paxton Progress receiving 45 percent of the vote compared with 30 percent for Progress in Paxton, 15 percent for Progress for Paxton and 10 percent for Paxton Planning Team.

The final results were announced to the group via email Wednesday by Linda Lee Blaine, a community and economic development specialist for the MAPPING the Future of Your Community program.

Paxton-Buckley-Loda Junior High School’s commons area sets the scene Tuesday, Oct. 3, for the first of five community planning sessions being held through the MAPPING the Future of Your Community program overseen by the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs at Western Illinois University.

The group of a few dozen dedicated residents, business owners and government officials met weekly this fall — for three hours each night and five times in all — to create an ideal vision for the future of Paxton and an action plan to achieve it. Choosing a name for the community organization was just the first step in what is expected to be a multi-year, phased process of bringing improvements to everything from housing to infrastructure to business support and development to parks, recreation, festivals, events and activities — all of which have been identified as high-priority areas for which the group’s newly formed “action teams” will be working to complete projects.

Paxton’s newly named MAPPING organization will include a “coordinating council” made up of two representatives of each of the organization’s four action teams, which are responsible for seeing projects through in each of the high-priority areas identified. The coordinating council will meet regularly and keep the action teams updated on the progress of projects.

Program staff from the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs will also engage in regular communication with the group and reconvene its members for a “maintaining the momentum” session to be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 11, at the Dr. E.T. Grove Civic Room in downtown Paxton. During the session, the group will discuss progress made on projects, the next steps, and any challenges or needs they may have.

The MAPPING the Future of Your Community program — whose title includes an acronym that stands for Management and Planning Programs Involving Nonmetropolitan Groups — has been used by more than 140 rural communities — including Arcola, Dwight, Fairbury, Fisher, Hoopeston, St. Joseph, Watseka and Ogden twice, in both 1997 and 2022 — since it was established in 1991.

More information on the MAPPING program can be found at