Those key areas are transportation and mobility, urban design, water, parks and green infrastructure, recycling and waste management, green building technologies and energy conservation, alternative energy, economic development and outreach/community education.
“We need people with expertise and an interest in Elgin’s future sustainability,” said Dave Lawry, General Services Group Director heading up the City’s sustainability effort. “The nine working groups will help us address the social, economic, institutional and environmental aspects of smart growth to really move Elgin forward.”
Applications are available at Elgin’s City Hall, 150 Dexter Court and online at www.cityofelgin.org. Click on the “sustainability master plan” link. Applications must be received by April 1.
Volunteers can be from Elgin or surrounding communities. The nine working groups are:
Transportation and Mobility
This working group will focus on strategies for a sustainable transportation and mobility network.
Sustainable transportation systems will reduce Elgin’s carbon footprint, spur development, and foster a sense of place. Important components of sustainable transportation networks and resources that will be explored are amenities for pedestrians and bicyclists; land use, transit, and non-transit modes of transportation; low-emission vehicles; and car sharing.
Urban design addresses how buildings are designed and arranged; how they relate to sidewalks, streets, and other components of the public way; and how they create a framework of blocks and lots. This working group will consider development patterns over time in Elgin and elsewhere, the interconnected nature of planning and development, and opportunities to encourage future development to enhance the City. Development implications of different types of sites, such as Downtown, traditional residential neighborhoods, residential subdivisions, areas adjacent to transit facilities, and riverfront sites, will be explored.
A range of sustainable strategies is needed for potable water, stormwater, and wastewater. A sustainable water supply will require the City to control the growth of demand for water in spite of increases in population and to prepare for increases in other demands for Fox River waters. Elgin can take advantage of opportunities to lead by example by implementing cost-effective sustainable practices that other Fox River communities can emulate to the advantage of all municipalities in the watershed.
Rainwater should be treated as an asset, not a waste product. The treatment and management of stormwater through best management practices like harvesting rainfall and installing raingardens will improve the quality and decrease the quantity of stormwater runoff, which drains to the Fox River. Innovative technologies for reducing and treating wastewater will also be considered.
Parks and Green Infrastructure
Parks can serve as recreational centers as well as function within the “green infrastructure” system. Green infrastructure refers to the systems of open space, river corridors, wetlands, forests, and natural habitats, which enhance a community by serving as a recreational asset, providing habitat for wildlife, and improving stormwater quality and quantity. This working group will discuss opportunities for recreation while protecting and restoring sensitive habitats, expanding native planting and wildlife corridors, and improving the overall livability of the City of Elgin.
Recycling and Waste Management
This working group will explore a variety of alternative recycling and reuse options, such as yard waste and food waste composting, pros and cons of garbage disposals, salvaging or donating household items, proper household hazardous waste disposal, and otherwise finding new uses for items that still have some use. Ultimately, these solutions will reduce the amount of trash being sent to a landfill.
Green Building Technologies and Energy Conservation
Green building technologies can create a wide variety of benefits, such as reduced water use, improved air quality, effective use and reuse of materials, energy savings, and even energy production. This working group will explore green building technologies and discuss opportunities for ¬¬reducing energy consumption and replacing carbon-based energy with renewable sources. In particular, energy efficiency opportunities within existing buildings will be explored.
Renewable energy sources pose an opportunity to reduce economic and environmental impacts associated with the reliance on fossil fuels. This working group will evaluate opportunities to supplement the City of Elgin’s traditional electric supply sources with renewable power. Renewable power supply can be either built or bought. This working group will perform a cost assessment of alternatives for achieving the City of Elgin’s goal of maximizing the use of local renewable energy sources.
Sustainable design strategies are fundamentally efficiency strategies that make the most of limited budgets and resources. The strategies employed must save more money than they cost, and outline a path to sustainable design that is followed because it is most financially effective path. This working group will consider demographic trends, forecasted employment and opportunities for job growth, and projected residential, retail, and office development to support a more stable City.
Community outreach and support plays an integral role in the successful implementation of the Sustainable City Master Plan. This Working Group will focus on collaborative efforts to reach all interested stakeholders and foster excitement and knowledge about sustainable efforts. A variety of communication outlets will be employed including interactive web pages, community meetings, and coverage through the local media. This group will play an important role in making sure Elgin’s plan and progress are well known to the community at large and the nation.
For more information about the Elgin’s Sustainable City Master Plan, contact Lawry at (847) 931-5961.