Village of Park Forest, IL hosts workshop on sustainable land use

Local residents and officials in Park Forest, IL met with representatives from Smart Growth America on April 18 and 19, 2013 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The workshops aimed to give Park Forest the tools to assess the effectiveness and sustainability of its current land use codes and create strategies to carry its smart growth vision forward.

Photograph Courtesy Zol87
Photograph courtesy Zol87 (via Flickr)

“We are very pleased to have the expertise of our friends from Smart Growth America as we review our ordinances and make sure they are up-to-date, especially in regards to sustainability,” said Mayor John A. Ostenburg.

Park Forest residents and public officials gathered for a public presentation on April 18 for an introductory overview of how sustainable land use codes could benefit the community. The public presentation was followed by  an all-day workshop with several key stakeholders on April 19. Chris Duerksen of Clarion Associates delved into specific areas of focus for the community. At the end of the day, the stakeholder group discussed the various challenges and opportunities in Park Forest. Chris used this information to create a viable next steps plan that the community can use as they update their codes.

In November 2012, the Village of Park Forest was one of 22 communities selected by Smart Growth America to participate in the free technical assistance program. Stretching from Maine to Washington State, these communities represent major cities, suburban centers, and rural towns alike.

The program, made possible through a five-year Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities, seeks to develop local planning solutions that help communities grow in ways that benefit families and businesses, while protecting the environment and preserving a sense of place. Three other nonprofit organizations—Forterra, Global Green USA and Project for Public Spaces—also received competitively awarded grants under this program to help communities get the kinds of development they want.

Learn more about the workshop and how Park Forest is accomplishing its goals by reading the documents below.

Workshop Materials:

Workshop Outcomes:

Technical assistance