Jun 27, 2016

U.S. EPA to Help Cities With Sustainable Design Strategies

Greening America's Communities program assists six projects

Walking path, Greening America's Communities program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it has selected six cities for technical assistance with sustainable design strategies under its Greening America’s Communities (GAC) program. The 2016 cities chosen for assistance are: Columbia, S.C.; Brownsville, Texas; Oklahoma City; Muscatine, Iowa; Honolulu; and Multnomah County, Ore.

“EPA is excited to roll up our sleeves and start working with the next round of cities through Greening America’s Communities,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “This program is another example of EPA making a visible difference in communities—helping build healthy, vibrant neighborhoods and stronger local economies centered on environmental sustainability.”

EPA will fund a team of designers to visit each selected city to create designs that will support a larger planning and implementation process for a pilot area. Through the GAC program, these teams will provide assistance to help communities use green infrastructure and other environmentally sensitive designs to create more walkable and bikeable neighborhoods.

EPA will provide assistance for the following projects:

1. Columbia, S.C., will create designs to protect an urban stream and create a greenway that will minimize flooding and establish a walkable connection through the Capital City Mill District.
2. Brownsville, Texas, will add green infrastructure to the International Greenway along the U.S.-Mexico border to manage storm water, create a more walkable street, and add shade and plants to cool an area experiencing higher temperatures due to climate change. 
3. Oklahoma City will use green infrastructure to minimize flooding from a local stream and make improvements to streets in four neighborhoods that will increase safety and improve quality of life for residents.
4. Muscatine, Iowa, will receive assistance to redesign a former state highway that now serves as a city street to help it become a safer gateway into downtown for both cars and bicycles.
5. Honolulu will receive assistance to design street improvements and green infrastructure to better support walking and economic development around two planned rail stations.
6. Multnomah County, Ore., will create designs for streets and public spaces in the Jade District to address heat island and air quality issues, manage storm water, bolster infill development, and support the character and concerns of the surrounding community.

Under the GAC program, formerly known as Greening America’s Capitals, EPA helped 23 capital cities and D.C. with sustainable design strategies. Results from previous GAC projects include:

• Little Rock, Ark., received more than $3.2 million in public investment to revitalize Main Street.
• Charleston, W.Va., received a $650,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation for Slack Plaza redesign.
• Lincoln, Neb., invested over $1.5 million from a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant and from local funds to add green infrastructure and other improvements along 11th Street.
• Baton Rouge, La., secured $250,000 to begin detailed design of the Downtown Greenway and $100,000 for construction on the first section of the greenway trail.
• Phoenix, Ariz., spent $575,000 to complete the first phase of bike lanes and other road improvements along Grand Avenue.
• Montgomery, Ala., spent $1.3 million of local funds to make improvements to the historic Selma to Montgomery Trail.

For more information on the GAC program, visit www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/greening-americas-communities.