Go Green Oak Park asks residents of Oak Park to add their names to a petition, which calls upon our Board of Trustees to take bold measures toward eliminating the use of toxic products within the borders of our village.
Solar panels on all 11 public school roofs? Windmills atop Village Hall? A local clean energy network that feeds energy into our grid? Some ideas never see the light of day, but thanks to the efforts of citizens and staff, these clean energy projects, or others like them, may become reality in the coming years.
As a 20-year resident of Oak Park, I’m excited to share a number of changes coming to Oak Park that will improve conditions for biking and walking. A few weeks ago, the village board approved the Oak Park Neighborhood Greenways system as an addendum to its 2008 bike plan. Elements of the 2008 bike plan have already been adopted, such as significantly more and better bike parking near transit stations, bike lanes, wayfinding signs and creating a village government bike fleet.
Mac Robinet is deeply concerned about climate change. A physicist by training, Mac worked for 37 years at Argonne National Laboratory performing research in the field of health physics. He has lived in Oak Park for 50 years, and served for six years on the Energy and Environment Commission where he became involved in the issue of renewable energy and community aggregation for the purchase of electrical power. The aggregation issue became contentious last year when the Village Board contracted for the so-called ‘brown energy’ option when they chose our municipal electricity provider.
The Village of Oak Park has been flooded with requests for rain barrels since announcing a new give-away program. Already, Environmental Services Manager Karen Rozmus has ordered 536 rain barrels from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Chicago, the partner and financial backer for the project. Up to four 55-gallon rain barrels (in blue, gray, terra cotta or black) are available for each qualified household. The Village of River Forest also has a program that offers discounted rain barrels. Read on for more details. There are several benefits to using rain barrels.
Many towns across the country are converting their natural grass fields to artificial turf. Following this trend, Oak Park has four artificial turf fields. Two new artificial fields are being added to the middle schools this summer and an additional proposed artificial surface is up for consideration at Barrie Park. That could be seven fields total by the end of 2016. This doesn't include the many new artificial playground areas that have been added to Scoville Park and the elementary schools.
When we think about nature in winter, we may think about snow, ice and gray skies. We may think about squirrels, and maybe cardinals. This is also the time of year when the graceful architecture of trees is starkly visible. Trees give us so many important gifts: cleaner air, fresh oxygen, stormwater management, shade, even energy efficiency for buildings. How well do you know the trees around you?
Madison Street has long been a street that does not meet the expectations of safety for walking and biking for Oak Park. The Oak Park Board of Trustees will meet December 8 to discuss a plan to invest TIF money to redesign Madison Street. Let’s take this opportunity to make a significant difference in the degree of biking and walking friendliness in our community. Please see the letter/petition to OP Village Board.
With Spring finally "sprung," and the last day of school soon approaching -- neighbors' minds and hearts turn to that annual homage to communal grilling, sidewalk chalk, water fights, and big-and-little-people tricycle races. The Block Party is a sacred thing in many places across the country -- not least in Oak Park and River Forest. Here, block party fun is serious business. And to some local citizens, greening their block parties is seriously cool and important business. The great news is that the villages of Oak Park and River Forest are both supporting GREEN BLOCK PARTIES this year! Why? Read on for the why's, who's, what's, and how's of green block parties.