DeKalb plans to improve sustainability

Kristin Maglabe

The city is on board with a plan to make streets more accessible to biking and walking after receiving public comments on the matter, said Dan Kenney of the Citizen Environmental Commission.

The Citizen Environmental Commission has been drafting a plan to make the city more environmentally friendly, and asked residents for their input on how the commission can make DeKalb environmentally friendly and sustainable.

The current draft of the sustainability plan was published on the city’s website, cityofdekalb.com, on Aug. 4.

“It is the intention of the CEC to provide a guide of sustainable goals, actions and practices that will preserve, restore and develop all of DeKalb’s vital community resources, thereby enhancing the quality of life for present and future generations,” according to the draft.

The Citizen Environmental Commission allowed citizens to provide input on the plan until Sept. 8. Jennifer Diedrich, city liaison for the commission, said the commission involved the public so they would know about the plan and have a part in formulating it. She said comments will be worked into the draft of the plan in the future, thought the commission does not know when.

The “complete streets” program will improve connectivity of existing bike paths and pedestrian walkways and widen walkways to accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians, according to the draft.

“We received positive public comments and a lot of expression about the bikeability and walkability of the city,” Kenney said. “The city is on board with the ‘complete streets’ idea to make streets more accessible to biking and walking. Those are some of the goals we will be working on in the near future.”

Kenney said the plan will provide a guide for the Environmental Commission and City Council in making decisions regarding economics and the environment.

The plan covers nine areas related to the city and residents, Kenney said.

These areas include finding alternative energy, implementing green building technology, creating healthy living and community education, facilitating transportation, ensuring clean water resources, supporting economic development alongside environmental awareness, recycling and waste management and creating a greener urban design, according to the city’s website.

Mayor John Rey said he was happy to see the solicitation of the broad citizen input on the sustainability plan.

“I’m pleased to see the awareness, and I’m pleased to see the initiative,” Rey said. “I appreciate the work and the time the commission is and has put into the plan.”

Kenney said the commission looks forward to working with residents, students and NIU administrators to improve the environment.

To view the Citizen Environmental Commission’s draft, go to bit.ly/1vekx1J.