Oak Park has one of the best street policies in the country, according to smartgrowthamerica.org.

In an announcement posted last month, Oak Park was among the top 10 communities across the country recognized for having adopting the best street policies in 2012. Oak Park came in at No. 7. Indianapolis was ranked No. 1.

According to the release: “communities across the country are making roads safer and more accessible for everyone who uses them, and more communities are using these strategies now than ever before.”

The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2012, organized by Smart Growth America, examines all the Complete Streets policies passed in the last year and highlights some of the best. The analysis also revealed that the Complete Streets movement grew in 2012, continuing a national trend since 2005.

In 2012, 125 communities adopted Complete Streets policies. These laws, resolutions, executive orders, policies and planning and design documents encourage and provide safe access to destinations for everyone, regardless of age, ability, income, ethnicity or how they travel.

“The policies passed in 2012 are some of the strongest we’ve seen,” Stefanie Seskin, deputy director of the National Complete Streets Coalition, wrote in a news release. “The communities included in this year’s analysis have done a stellar job drafting strong, comprehensive policies to create streets that work for everyone.”

Recycling Extravaganza

Gather your recyclables for the second annual “Recycling Extravaganza” at River Forest United Methodist Church at the corner of Lake and Thatcher from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, May 4.

The Recycling Extravaganza replaces the classic recycling drives at the three schools. This giant event reaches out to the entire community to help divert recyclables from the waste stream.

The group will be collecting electronics, scrap metal, batteries, clothes, shoes, school supplies, bikes, corks, light bulbs and more. This year, they’ll also accept carpeting, carpet padding and fluorescent tubes. Safe disposal for expired or unused prescription medicine will also be provided.

Last year, nearly 600 cars passed through the line to drop off their recyclables and this year, the group expects more.

Vacancy on RF Park District board

The River Forest Park District Board of Commissioners is seeking applications from interested River Forest residents to fill a vacant park board seat.

The 6-year term will be filled by board appointment for the first 2-years, followed by election in the 2015 Consolidated Election to serve the remaining four years.

Interested residents are required to complete a questionnaire and return it to Michael Sletten no later than May 10. At the board’s May 13 meeting, the group will review the applications and select a short list of candidates for interview. The park board hopes to swear in the new board member at the June 10 park board meeting.

Contact Michael Sletten at msletten@rfparks.com or at (708) 366-6660, ext. 101 for more information. Visit rfparks.com for park board vacancy questionnaire.

RF residents receiving survey

In early May, many River Forest residents will be receiving a River Forest Park District Community Survey.

The survey will be distributed to 2,000 households, soliciting resident input in determining the recreation needs of the community.

Those who receive a survey should complete and return it, as this information will drive the board’s decisions over the next four years, according to a news release.

Information from this survey will be used in the development of the upcoming River Forest Park District Strategic Plan. Those who do not receive a survey and wish to participate, feel free to stop by The Depot, 401 Thatcher, to complete a survey. For additional information, please contact Michael Sletten at (708) 366-6660, ext. 101 or at msletten@rfparks.com.

Local businesses are ‘Growing Green’

The Oak Park Development Corporation is assisting 23 businesses from the Oak Park-River Forest business community to ‘Grow Green,” according to a news release.

With funding support from both the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation and the Village of River Forest, OPDC is rolling out a green business initiative focused on encouraging sustainability-related investments and improvements that align with the goals of Plan It Green, Oak Park’s community sustainability plan, and strengthen a business’ bottom line.

Businesses participating in this one-year program will receive two free audits, five educational seminars, free products and installations, networking opportunities, and a marketing kit to announce “greening” efforts to consumers. Participants will also learn about efforts that other local businesses have made in sustainability areas of waste and recycling, energy, food, transportation, and water.

The inaugural class of businesses ‘greening’ their practices and properties includes: Wonder Works, Magical Mind Studios, West Cook YMCA, Scratch ‘n Sniff, Pumpkin Moon, Nevin Hedlund Architects, Ten Thousand Villages, Kinderhook Tap, Green Home Experts, AltCare Health Center, Little Bits Workshop, Oak Park Dental Studio, Sugarcup Trading, Takara Designs, Takara Home, Serenity Partners, Sirius Cooks, Lake Theatre, Carleton Hotel, Barclay’s American Grille, Eyrie Restaurant, Sun Star Dental, and the River Forest Community Center.

Businesses have attended seminars on recycling and energy and several businesses have completed their initial energy audit, according to the release.

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