Forest Park became the first village to officially join the Cross-Community Climate Collaborative (C4) after its village council approved the Memorandum of Understanding on June 13.

Under the memorandum, Broadview, Forest Park, Oak Park and River Forest will agree to work together to implement environmentally sustainable projects in their communities. For example, they would bid jointly for electric car charging stations, which they would expect would save money through economies of scale. 

Broadview and Oak Park are currently slated to approve the memorandum during their respective village board meetings, both of which will take place on June 21, after this issue’s print deadline. It is not clear when River Forest will vote on it, since one June  meeting was cancelled and the agenda for a June 27 meeting isn’t up as of June 20. The official joint signing ceremony is scheduled to take place at River Grove’s Triton College, 2000 5th Ave., on June 23 at 1 p.m.

Forest Park Mayor Rory Hoskins first introduced the concept during the Forest Park Village Council’s May 23 meeting. As he said at the time, the C4 proposal was spearheaded by Broadview Mayor Katrina Thompson. Broadview, Oak Park and River Forest presented the plan at the West Central Municipal Conference four weeks earlier, inviting other member municipalities to participate. 

The memorandum describes C4 as an agreement between western Cook County suburbs, but otherwise doesn’t impose any membership requirements.

The memorandum that got approved by the village council was substantially similar to what Hoskins presented on May 23. 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, IN. based Urban Efficiency Group and Oak Park-based Seven Generations Ahead consultants to help with the planning. The memorandum sets the goal of 45% greenhouse gas emissions reductions by 2030 and 100% reductions by 2050.

The villages frame C4 as a way to achieve equity between more well-off communities like Oak Park and communities that struggle to attract investment, such as Broadview. Since the minority communities tend to be disproportionately impacted by pollution, a collaborative approach was envisioned.

“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.

During the June 13 meeting, Forest Park Commissioner Jessica Voogd, who has consistently advocated for the village to adopt environmentally sustainable policies, said that, while C4 wasn’t perfect, “perfect shouldn’t be the enemy of good.”

“I just want to give a big thanks and recognize these women, Mayor Thompson, and [River Forest Village] President [Cathy] Adduci and [Oak Park Village] President [Vicki] Scaman for their leadership and action on this issue,” she said, adding that she looks forward to whatever the collaboration brings.

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Igor Studenkov is a winner of multiple Illinois Press Association awards for local government and business reporting. He has been contributing to Growing Community Media newspapers in 2012, then from 2015...