The city is seeking funds and counting on new staff to ramp up investment in climate action.
Cara Pratt, Evanston’s sustainability coordinator, told a virtual meeting of the Environment Board Thursday, April 13, that the city will seek funding from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Justice Government-to-Government Program.
The program offers up to $1 million in federal funds per project, which can be used to support affordable housing retrofit programs.
At Thursday’s meeting, Pratt also introduced Kirsten Drehobl and Benjamin Martin, specialists who joined the sustainability department earlier in the week.
“I’m really optimistic we’ll start to make significant progress towards our CARP [Climate Action and Resiliency Plan] goals” once the new staff are settled in, Fourth Ward Council Member Jonathan Nieuwsma said before the meeting.
The city has also expanded its electric fleet, it was announced at the meeting, with more charging stations planned, including at the Morton Civic Center.
“We’ve gone from one electric vehicle to 12 over the past just few handful of months, which is why we need to put in those charging stations,” Pratt said.
The sustainability office is drawing up a draft action plan for 2024, with that process picking up in the coming months to align with the next budget cycle, Pratt said.
The city also has signed a memorandum with a glass packaging institute to establish a new commercial glass recycling program, said Brian Zimmerman, solid waste coordinator.
“I’m excited about it, ” he said. “Other materials like plastic and cardboard and paper have limited shelf life in terms of usability,” he said.
Board member Matt Cotter asked whether residents would be able to participate directly. Zimmerman said that while the program is primarily aimed at bars, restaurants and large event venues, the city is exploring new options for residents to recycle glass.
The city will host its second Reconvening on Climate Action meeting from 10 a.m. to noon April 29 in the Parasol Room at the Civic Center, Zimmerman said.