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Ideas sought for possible use of Brightfields funds

Submitted by Carbondale Times on

The city of Carbondale is seeking suggestions from the public as to how a possible half-million-dollar influx of cash annually might be used to enhance sustainability efforts and further “green” the city.

In March, the city council approved a special-use permit for Brightfields Development, allowing the company to construct a solar energy array at 1555 N. Marion St., the site of the former Koppers Wood Treatment Plant.

As part of the approval process, Brightfields indicated it would provide up to $25,000 per megawatt/per year to the city. The project is expected to generate 20 megawatts per year, which could generate about $500,000 annually for the city.

The approval of the permit came only after protracted public debate centering on environmental issues left in the wake of former wood treatment plant, which used a large amount of a chemical called creosote. Koppers operated at the site from 1902 to 1991, and many who worked there or live in the nearby neighborhoods have pointed to the creosote as the source of long-term health issues.

Now, the Carbondale Sustainability Commission is seeking input from the community as it begins the process of developing a proposal for the utilization of the proposed funds. The proposal will be submitted to the city council, which will make the final decision on the use of the funds. 

The Sustainability Commission is accepting ideas at sustainability@ci.carbondale.il.us.

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