Annual Recycling Extravaganza, river cleanup to continue
The Village of Oswego is taking a new approach to its sustainability efforts with the end of the Village-run ECO Commission. On Tuesday, Aug. 21, the Village Board is expected to finalize a change in the Village Code that would allow Environmentally Conscious Oswego, also known as the ECO Commission, to dissolve. That move paves the way for former commissioners and interested Oswego residents to form an independent nonprofit organization, carrying on the mission of a sustainable community.
Membership has been declining on the ECO Commission, and in May reached a low of just three members. Following discussions on options for addressing the vacancies, the remaining members voted to dissolve the commission, and will turn their efforts towards an independent community organization.
“Part of the membership issue we identified was not a lack of interest in environmental issues so much as it was the challenges inherent in the commission structure and the rules that guide them,” said Village President Gail Johnson. “ECO members want to be more adaptable and hands-on, and we want to encourage them and all interested residents to take that more active role in promoting sustainability in Oswego.”
Since its formation in 2007, the ECO Commission has advised Village staff and the Village Board on residential solid waste, electronic waste recycling and curbside compost collection. The commission has helped organized events throughout the years, formed partnerships with The Conservation Foundation that provides reduced-price rain barrels to residents and the Village Hall rain and butterfly gardens, and advised on green infrastructure like LEED Certification for the new Police Department headquarters and LED lighting for streets and Village-owned buildings. Most recently, the ECO Commission researched and recommended approval on the Village’s backyard chicken ordinance to promote sustainable agriculture, and they supported Oswego signing the Greenest Region Compact, a sustainability framework and guiding principles for 100 Chicagoland municipalities.
“We want to thank the members of the ECO Commission sincerely for everything they have done to make Oswego a more environmentally conscious community. Because of their efforts, sustainability has become engrained in everything we do,” said Johnson. “Our staff and leadership are not only proud to continue those efforts from within the Village, but we are all very excited to see the work that Environmentally Conscious Oswego will be able to achieve as an independent organization and to partner with them to achieve our shared vision of a healthy, beautiful, sustainable community.”
The Village is working with commissioners who have expressed interest to set up an Environmentally Conscious Oswego nonprofit organization that will work to advance sustainability issues. Staff will meet with the organization regularly to solicit feedback and address concerns.
Village staff will also continue to assist with the annual Recycling Extravaganza, Community Garage Sale and Fox River Cleanup events each year. The Village is also forming a Green Team of staff from public works, community relations, community development and other departments that will meet regularly to review and implement best practices.
For more information on the Village of Oswego’s sustainability efforts and what residents can do to contribute to a greener community, visit www.oswegoil.org and click on Green Practices.