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EPA selects communities for 2010 Greening America's Capitals projects

By megan | September 8, 2010

Washington, DC (September 8, 2010)- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected five state capital cities to receive high-quality green development that includes cleaning up and recycling vacant lands, accessing and improving waterways, providing greater housing and transportation choices, and reducing infrastructure and energy costs.

Greening America’s Capitals is a project of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities between EPA, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to help state capitals develop an implementable vision of distinctive, environmentally friendly neighborhoods that incorporate innovative green building and green infrastructure strategies. This program will assist three to five communities per year, with the first projects beginning in the fall of 2010.
The five state capitals were selected from a total of 38 cities that responded to a solicitation of interest by EPA in June 2010.The Agency will organize teams of urban planners and landscape architects to provide direct, customized technical assistance as requested by each community. Greening America’s Capitals is not a grant; it provides direct technical assistance to communities by working with private-sector experts and leveraging other partners, such as HUD and DOT, to consider implementation options. In addition to helping the selected state capitals build a greener future and civic pride, this assistance will help create models that other cities can look to in creating their own sustainable designs.
The City of Boston, MA, asked for assistance through EPA’s Greening America’s Capitals to create realistic greening options for City Hall Plaza that can be realized in the near term. Goals of the redesign will be to create well-defined edges and entrances, provide more bike access and parking, connect the plaza to existing streets, increase green elements such as trees and vegetation for better stormwater management, and support energy efficiency and green building improvements in City Hall and nearby buildings.
EPA’s Greening America’s Capitals team will work with the City of Charleston, WV, and stakeholders to establish a common vision for Slack Plaza that could transform it into a multi-modal transportation hub and well-used town square. Adding public art, trees, and redesigning the pedestrian corridors to serve a range of users will continue Charleston’s efforts to foster a more beautiful and sustainable community.
The City of Hartford, CT, is seeking EPA assistance to re-imagine a mile-long portion of Capitol Avenue, a focal point of the city that includes the Connecticut State Capitol and Legislative Building, the State Library, the Supreme Court, and the State Armory, as well as residential and retail areas. Redesigns will focus on public open spaces, such as parks and state building grounds, as well as green street improvements that better manage stormwater, improve the pedestrian environment and aesthetic character of Capitol Avenue, and encourage future redevelopment.
Through a collaborative on-site workshop, Jefferson City, MO, will work with a team of designers to develop aesthetically and functionally valuable landscape architecture designs that will result in both community and water quality benefits. Using detailed visuals and graphics, this assistance will work to improve public access to the Missouri River and integrate brownfield cleanup and redevelopment and appropriate reuse of currently vacant lands. The Jefferson City project is also one of the first projects associated with the EPA Administrator’s new Urban Waters focus, which seeks to support communities in their efforts to access, improve, and benefit from their urban waters and the surrounding land.
The Greening America’s Capitals design team will assist Little Rock, AR, with streetscape improvements that will help catalyze the redevelopment potential of the Main Street corridor. Focusing on key activity centers along the corridor, the redesign will highlight the impact that new pocket parks and reuse of vacant parking lots could have on encouraging future redevelopment and more pedestrian activity to support ground-floor retail and a future trolley line.
Related Resources:
US EPA Greening America’s Capitals
EPA Picks State Capitals to Create Models of Green Design
Green Infrastructure Summit 2010

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