Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Greencastle 'three-peats' as Green Community of the Year

The Indiana Association of Cities and Towns (IACT) recently announced that Greencastle has received its Green Community of the Year designation for the third consecutive year.

It's what we refer to around these parts as the "three-peat."

We recently blogged about our efforts on the sustainability front following the announcement that Putnam RISE, an initiative of the Greencastle Sustainability Commission, received a $100,000 grant from the Putnam County Community Foundation.

And, the IACT recognition comes on the heels of the National League of Cities' announcement that Greencastle was the 45 finalists for its 2010 Awards for Municipal Excellence, again for our sustainability efforts.

IACT launched its Green Communities initiative to help cities and towns facing budget shortfalls identify potential cost savings, as well as show how communities that operate in a sustainable way do so in a cost-effective manner. The organization asked us to fill out a 51-question survey that covered, among other things, purchasing, operations and sample projects.

While recognition from outside organizations certainly makes a difference, we can look around at the tangible improvements we've made:

- public transportation has become a reality after some 20 years of trying;
- energy-efficient retrofits for city buildings;
- decorative LED street lights in our downtown and the change out of all of our traffic signals to LED lighting;
- ordinances, policies and building codes that protect our ground water, our habitat and our future;
- a growing Farmer's Market and community garden to promote the sale and growing of local food for families and restaurants;
- a robust "Buy Local" campaign in conjunction with the Chamber that supports local businesses and saves energy;
- an expanded curb-side trash program that has stepped up recycling efforts citywide; and
- "move out" days where gently used furniture and good come to the community from DePauw students, rather than adding to the landfill.

While these are just some of the ways we've become "greener" in Greencastle, you can read more about our efforts here. At a time when communities across the state and indeed the nation, are facing a budget crunch, we are doing this at little or no cost to the taxpayers.

What do you think about this latest recognition for our city? What can we do to ensure that we make IACT's Green Communities list next year?

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