Forest Park is poised to join Broadview, Oak Park and River Forest to form the Cross-Community Climate Collaborative (C4), which would work together to help member communities implement environmental sustainability projects, such as buying charging stations for electric cars and shifting electricity supply toward solar panels.
Forest Park Mayor Rory Hoskins laid out the proposal during the May 23 village council meeting. He said the collaboration would help the communities achieve economies of scale and get better contracts. The collaborative set the ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2023, and by 100% by 2050.
The four villages are planning to hold a public Memorandum of Understanding signing at Triton College on June 1 at 10 a.m. The Forest Park village council didn’t discuss the collaborative during the May 23 meeting, and there will be no meeting before then. Hoskins told the Review that, if any of the commissioners tell him they weren’t interested in joining, he wouldn’t participate. But he said that he didn’t anticipate any opposition and emphasized that the terms of the memorandum will allow Forest Park to leave any time.
Hoskins told the council that the C4 proposal was spearheaded by Broadview mayor Katrina Thompson. Broadview, Oak Park and River Forest presented the plans at the West Central Municipal Conference four weeks earlier, inviting member municipalities to participate. The memorandum describes C4 as an agreement between western Cook County suburbs, but otherwise doesn’t impose any membership requirements.
Under the terms of the memorandum, each member community will establish a local sustainability working group to figure out how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and set targets and strategies for making the municipality more environmentally sustainable. The community representatives will meet monthly to develop regional strategies. C4 will contract Gary, Ind. based Urban Efficiency Group and Oak Park-based Seven Generations Ahead consultants to help with the planning.
The memorandum also frames C4 as a way to achieve equity between more well-off communities like Oak Park and the communities that struggled to attract investment, such as Broadview.
“C4 is designed to bring together BIPOC and non-minority communities across income lines to share ideas, secure resources, and drive large-scale projects within and across communities that achieve agreed upon greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions, equity, and sustainability goals,” the document introduction stated.
The document also mentions that minority communities tend to be disproportionately impacted by pollution, so a collaborative approach makes sense.
Hoskins gave the electric vehicle charging station as an example of how C4 could benefit Forest Park. He said that he has seen parking garage owners develop charging stations, with some even approaching the village – but pricing becomes an issue.
“This village has already been approached, but rather than deal [with those companies] individually, it would be possible for Forest Park and other suburbs to work a better deal,” he said.
Hoskins said that village administrator Moses Amidei already had one meeting with his counterparts in the other three villages.
In an interview before the meeting, Hoskins said that C4 was exactly the kind of collaboration between western suburbs that he would like to see more of.