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Sep 082010

From Green Right Now Reports

EPA has selected Jefferson City, Mo., for green design assistance that includes cleaning up and recycling vacant lands, providing greater housing and transportation choices, reducing energy costs and improving waterways.

Jefferson City’s primary area of focus is bounded on the west by U.S. Highways 63/54, on the north by the Missouri River, on the south by U.S. Highways 50/63, and by the Capitol Building on the east. Wears Creek and vacant properties within the area provide the greatest opportunity for reconnecting nearby residents in the Southside neighborhood to the riverfront. Wears Creek will serve as an important connection to planned bike and pedestrian greenways in Jefferson City.

Through its new Greening America’s Capitals program, EPA will fund private sector experts to provide sustainable design assistance to Jefferson City, Boston, Mass.; Hartford, Conn.; Charleston, W.Va.; and Little Rock, Ark. This is a new project of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, in which the EPA, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Transportation will coordinate federal housing, transportation, and environmental investments. The program also is intended to protect public health and the environment and help address the challenges of climate change.

HUD and DOT were involved in the review and selection process and will provide technical expertise on relevant portions of each project.

Jefferson City and the four other state capital cities were selected from a total of 38 cities that responded to a solicitation of interest by EPA. The Agency will now organize teams of urban planners and landscape architects to provide direct, customized technical assistance as requested by Jefferson City officials. Greening America’s Capitals is not a grant program, but provides direct technical assistance to communities by working with private sector experts and leveraging partnerships, such as with HUD and DOT, to consider implementation options. In addition to helping the selected state capitals build civic pride and a greener future, this assistance will help create models that many other cities can look to in creating their own sustainable designs.

“This project will address environmental concerns, green building techniques and help revitalize neighborhoods, spurring economic and social benefits in Missouri’s capital city,” Karl Brooks, regional EPA administrator, said in a statement. “Plans include a downtown connection of the Katy Trailhead Park to the Missouri River Bridge and development of green building designs to provide greater housing choices. In addition, the project will reconnect the city with its 100 historic buildings through trails, walkways and bike paths that connect to the city’s pedestrian and bike trails.”

Other partners involved in the project include Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, State Senator Carl Vogel, Jefferson City Mayor John Landwehr, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Missouri Department of Transportation, Missouri State Office of Administration Jefferson City Council, Jefferson City Housing Authority & Land Clearance Authority, Jefferson City Environmental Quality Commission, Jefferson City Planning & Zoning Commission, Jefferson City Parks & Recreation Department, Historic Jefferson City, Old Town Revitalization Company, Downtown Association, Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce.