While Aviation discusses Napolitano’s ordinance, the Budget Committee will take up an ordinance to amend the city’s Equal Employment Opportunity requirements with the goal of increasing job opportunities for minority and female workers in all city-funded construction projects, which are worth nearly $300 million annually.

The city incentivizes contractors to set aside a certain number of labor hours for minority and women apprentices, laborers and journeymen when bidding for city contracts. The plan introduced by Mayor Rahm Emanuel increases those bid incentives for vendors to hire minority workers (from 50% to 70%) and for female workers (from 10% to 15%). It also adds new incentives to hire residents from “neighborhoods of economic need.”

The criteria for those “socio-economically disadvantaged areas” are to be determined by the Commissioner of Planning and Development, and will take into consideration the median family income and unemployment rate of an area, among other things. The ordinance also enables the city’s Procurement Officer to create the rules and help administer the program.

“This proposal will ensure that we are leveraging our procurement dollars to create jobs for residents in all parts of Chicago,” Mayor Emanuel said in a press release when he introduced the ordinance in February.

The second item on the agenda renews an intergovernmental agreement with the Chicago Board of Education regarding an environmental program that turns asphalt schoolyards in flood prone neighborhoods into “multifaceted ‘green’ school yards.”

The so-called “Room to Grow” initiative is a partnership between the Chicago Board of Education, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and two non-profits: Openlands and the Healthy Spaces campaign. 

Four Chicago elementary schools received new school yards in 2014 as part of the program: Virgil Grissom, Theophilus Schmid, Donald Morrill Math & Science, and George Leland. Each school got a new school yard that is designed to include, “special gardens, permeable surfaces and other landscape features that absorb large amounts of water, which will help reduce neighborhood flooding.”

The first phase of the “Room to Grow” program cost roughly $5.87 million. The IGA awaiting committee approval today commits $2 million in funding toward that first phase payment, and notes that MWRD will provide matching funds, up to $500,000 for each of those four schools. It also re-ups the program for an additional six schools per year for five years. The total cost is $15 million. The city plans to use revenue from the city’s sewer system to pay for part of the project.

Pedestrian & Traffic Safety Committee

At noon, the Council’s Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety meets to discuss and approve routine parking matters.