By Anna Lothson
Last year Oak Park was able to secure $400,000 in grants that will go toward the joint project between the village of Oak Park, the Illinois Institute for Sustainable Energy Development and the Korean Smart Grid Institute.
The grants, awarded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, are part of the Community Solar and Wind and Energy Efficient Trust Fund Grants for 2013. The grant cycles for 2014 are open again, and the village hopes to receive more funds.
The sustainability project, called Smart City USA, was secured last year when the village was chosen as the top city to launch the model. In fact, the village was chosen as the site for a residential smart grid community project from among 288 potential locations. The project involves installing solar-powered demonstration sites on residential and commercial buildings in the village.
The project budget for 2014, according to a village memo, includes installation of solar/battery systems for 110 homes, as well as home energy management systems for 200 homes. One key element of the project is that neither the village nor residents will incur any expenses during its implementation.
According to the memo: "The Smart City USA Project provides the Village of Oak Park and its residents with a unique and exciting opportunity to become innovators in community-wide electrical efficiency, demand aggregation and coordinated generation technologies, while providing proof of the commercial viability of various advanced monitoring and energy management technologies."
Parking restrictions eased for Thanksgiving
The on-street, overnight parking ban will not be enforced on most Oak Park residential streets during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Overnight restrictions will be lifted at 2:30 a.m., Thurs., Nov. 28, and resume at 2:30 a.m., Mon., Dec. 2. Restrictions will remain in effect in overnight permit areas, such as village-owned lots, on-street enclaves and on-street overnight parking zones.
All other parking regulations also remain in effect, including all daytime posted restrictions and regulations related to traffic and public safety. For more information, call 708-358-5750 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The overnight parking ban in River Forest has also been lifted for the holiday. Parking will be allowed on village streets from 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 27 through 12:01 a.m. Monday, Dec. 2. No overnight parking waivers will be required during this period.
If overnight, on-street parking is needed for Sunday night through Monday morning, residents/guests are advised to call 708-366-7125 for permission.
Village halls closed for Thanksgiving
Oak Park Village Hall, 123 Madison St., will be closed on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 28 and 29, for Thanksgiving. River Forest Village Hall, 400 Park Ave., will also be closed.
Should an incident that doesn't quite rise to the level of a 911 emergency occur when village hall is closed, people should call the police department non-emergency number 708-386-3800 for assistance.
Holiday to affect waste collection schedule
Refuse, recycling and yard waste collection will be delayed by the Thanksgiving holiday. For residents with regular pick-up on Thursday, collection will be delayed until Friday, and Friday's collection delayed until Saturday. For more information, call 708-358-5700 or email email@example.com.
Community emergency response team forming
Emergency preparedness officials are seeking volunteers to form a community emergency response team — or CERT — in Oak Park to support response efforts after an emergency or natural disaster.
Working with the police, fire, public works and public health departments, Oak Park's CERT will provide not only required assistance, but the leadership and organization ability that can help fill the gap between the number of people who need emergency assistance and the resources available within the community and their own neighborhoods. The team will play a critical role in assisting the Red Cross and other relief organizations in the event of an actual emergency.
CERT members receive 20 hours of training focused on basic firefighting, search and rescue, first aid, communications, traffic control and other emergency response skills. Membership is open to Oak Park residents age 16 or older. Teens and high school students can help out with their local CERT team and earn community service hours where applicable.
Initial training will be conducted the evenings of Jan. 18, 25 and 26. Prior experience is not required. For more information, call 708-358-5488 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.