Some Will County board members still chilly to ‘Cool Joliet’ designation
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain email@example.com June 13, 2013 9:26PM
Lonnie Morris, left, chairwoman of Cool Cities in Illinois; Jan Gehrig, president of Cool Joliet; and Bruce Texley, a Cool Joliet Board member, discuss action taken Thursday June by the Will County Board Executive Committee to modify a Cool County resolution. | Photo by Cindy Wojdyla Cain~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 16, 2013 6:21AM
JOLIET — Will County board members continued to give Cool Joliet a chilly reception on Thursday.
The board’s executive committee shortened a resolution naming Will County as a Cool County by taking out any language that says the county accepts the designation and it would collaborate with Cool Joliet, a local environmental group.
Board member Chuck Maher, R-Naperville, said he didn’t want Will County to be used by the group in a marketing plan.
Margo McDermed, R-Mokena, said Will County may not be as focused on the environment as some believe because it is embracing the Illiana Expressway and the South Suburban Airport and it has two refineries, a nuclear power plant and two coal-burning power plants.
“Are we really a Cool County,” she asked. “I’m not exactly sure that we are.”
Don Gould, R-Shorewood, was irritated by those who fully embraced the Cool County concept and those who were dead set against it. He thought both sides were leaning too far left or too far right on issues that don’t normally have a place in county government, including last month’s debate on a concealed carry resolution for gun owners.
“I’m telling you people, if you want to go down this ideological path, left wing and right wing, you guys go ahead,” Gould said. “You want to run for Congress? Go for it.”
Gould said he wished board members would take more time to discuss issues that really mattered to county residents, including the recent takeover of the South Suburban Airport governance by the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Board member Mike Fricilone, R-Homer Glen, said the resolution as originally worded didn’t simply say the county was accepting a Cool County designation from the club, it said the county would be “joining the club.”
When the resolution first came up several weeks ago, some Republican county board members didn’t like that Cool Joliet is affiliated with the Sierra Club, a group that has come out against coal-burning power plants.
Land Use Director Curt Paddock said Cool Joliet is a civic organization and a nonprofit that was organized to promote and enhance the environment. He said if Will County collaborated with the group, it would be working on the board’s own environmental policies, “Not the policy of any other organization on the planet.”
Executive committee members voted unanimously to shorten the resolution. The entire board will vote on the measure at its June 20 meeting.
Cool Joliet officials said they want to name Will County a Cool County for its environmental and land management policies. DuPage County is a Cool County and several municipalities in Will County also have accepted the designation of Cool City.
Jan Gehrig, president of Cool Joliet, said she was somewhat disappointed that the committee cut out the last two paragraphs of the resolution. But she said there is still wording in the resolution that acknowledges a relationship with the county.
“And we can build on that,” she said. “And so I think it looks worse than it really is.”