City of Evansville Green Community of the Year
In October, the City of Evansville was awarded the Green Community of the Year Award from the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns for the second year in a row. Evansville received the Green Community Award in 2009 and Green Community of the Year – the top award - in 2011 and 2012.
The award was based on Evansville’s answers to a 49-question survey. Not only did the city meet the minimum score required to be a Green Community, it also ranked highest among other communities its size.
The survey addressed renewable energy, conservation, purchasing and recycling policies, brownfields redevelopment, water conservation, green building, sustainable growth, urban forestry, energy efficiency and more.
Here are just a few examples of the city’s efforts to be a greener community:
Solar panels have been installed at city facilities including Swonder Ice Arena, C.K. Newsome Community Center, and Howell Wetlands Conservation Station.
Electric Vehicle Charging stations – free to the public – have been installed at each of the three public parking garages in downtown Evansville.
The city’s wastewater treatment plant captures methane from the treatment facilities, which is used to fuel generators to provide electricity to the facility.
Traffic signals at approximately 155 intersections have been completely converted to LEDs.
The Wesselman Woods Nature Center is LEED Gold certified and the new downtown arena, The Ford Center, is LEED Silver certified.
The HOME program to revitalize a near-downtown neighborhood, including 17 new homes with tankless water heaters, low-flow toilets, faucets and showers, rain barrels, Energy Star windows, etc.
The City recently expanded its curbside recycling program, begun in 1994 with small bins, and now offers single-stream recycling with large, wheeled containers. Household recycling jumped from 41 percent in 2012 to 73 percent in April 2013.
The Pigeon Creek Greenway Passage provides 6.75 miles of walking/biking trails and was recognized at the 2012 Trail of the Year by the Indiana Greenways Foundation. Forty-two miles of Greenway Passage are planned.
The city also has a regional bicycle and pedestrian plan with seven existing bicycle routes on city streets.
The Evansville Department of Urban Forestry was established in 2001. Evansville has been a Tree City USA Community since 2000 and has received the Growth Award every year since 2003.
In 2012, the city’s Bicentennial year, the 2012 Trees in 2012 program counted 20,232 trees planted in Vanderburgh County in 2012.
Within the Evansville Gateway Project/Hoosier Heritage Roadside Program, over 8,500 native grasses and wildflowers were planted on a median on U.S. 41. The program marked the first time that the Indiana Department of Transportation utilized a structured plug planting method and Department of Corrections inmates to grow the plants.
The Clean Evansville program, instigated by Mayor Lloyd Winnecke in 2012, resulted in 2,162 volunteers picking up 2, 128 bags of litter. The program was highlighted by the U.S. Conference of Mayors in its Best Practices and has been replicated by Akron, Ohio.
“The fact that Evansville also won the Green Community of the Year Award in 2012 speaks to the civic pride, work ethic and spirit of volunteerism in this community,” Winnecke said.
Submitted by Wendy Bredhold