Park Forest Takes Home Award for Best Sustainability Plan in Illinois

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- The Village of Park Forest was recognized for best sustainability plan by the Illinois Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-IL) at an awards reception October 4 at the DePaul Center in Chicago.

Park Forest was one of only a handful of municipalities in the state to be selected for a planning award.

The 2013 APA-IL Chapter Award winners were chosen from a pool of 42 nominations across seven award categories. As in years past, APA-IL Chapter engaged the Missouri Chapter of the American Planning Association for assistance in reviewing the award nominations.

On hand to receive Park Forest’s award were Sustainability Coordinator Sarah Coulter, Economic Development and Planning Director Hildy Kingma, and Village Manger Tom Mick.

“We are thrilled to be recognized for our commitment to sustainability.  So many people took part in the effort to formulate the plan, and it will take the commitment of the community to ensure that the plan has the lasting benefits we envisioned it would,” said Economic Development and Planning Director Hildy Kingma.

For a listing of other awards and award winners, click here.

About Park Forest’s Sustainability Plan

In early 2011, the Village of Park Forest was selected to participate in a Local Technical Assistance Program funded by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning to develop a Sustainability Plan. The Growing Green Plan was completed in early 2012 and adopted by the Village Board of Trustees in May 2012.

The Growing Green Plan addresses the three E’s of sustainability – environment, economy, and equity – and covers 14 topic areas:

  • Development Patterns
  • Energy
  • Education
  • Transportation and Mobility
  • Greenhouse Gases
  • Community Health and Wellness
  • Open Space and Ecosystems
  • Green Economy
  • Housing Diversity
  • Waste
  • Local Food Systems  Arts and Culture
  • Water
  • Municipal Policies and Practices

In order to address these topic areas appropriately, the Growing Green Plan includes:

  • A sustainability assessment to establish baseline conditions and inventory existing programs and initiatives.
  • Goals, indicators, and strategies are established for each key topic area.
  • A detailed implementation strategy is provided for each key topic area that includes a recommendation for the lead Village department(s), the phasing, and additional resources for each strategy.
  • Monitoring and reporting guidelines are provided to ensure that the goals of the Plan are realized.

In October 2012, the Village hired a Sustainability Coordinator, funded by a grant from The Chicago Community Trust, to initiate implementation of the Growing Green Plan.

Since then, Park Forest has made several sustainable strides including new community gardens in town, newly installed bike lanes along the town’s busiest interior road, expanded access to healthier foods by implementing an EBT machine at the Village’s farmers’ market, and developed a recycling campaign.

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