WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today named 32 communities in 26 states as the initial participants in the Sustainable Communities Building Blocks program. The communities will receive technical assistance during a day-long session that will help them achieve their sustainable planning goals. Sustainable planning helps safeguard the environment and spur economic development while also improving Americans’ health.
“The public-private partnerships in the Building Blocks program give communities new and proven tools to maximize the health and economic benefits of brownfields revitalization,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “This is another great example of how a targeted investment in protecting public health can create jobs and strengthen the economic future of our communities.”
EPA selected the 32 communities from 354 applicants through a competitive process in consultation with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). During a day-long session with EPA-funded, private-sector experts, participants will focus on a specific sustainability tool such as zoning code reviews, walkability assessments, or economic and fiscal health assessments. They will also learn about additional environmentally responsible, economically healthy development techniques and general sustainable community strategies.
Sustainable Communities Building Blocks is coordinated through the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a joint effort between EPA, HUD, and DOT to coordinate federal actions on housing, transportation, and environmental protection. This interagency collaboration achieves efficient federal investments in infrastructure development, facilities, and services that meet multiple economic, environmental, and community objectives.
The selected communities are: Bemidji, Minn.; Bluffton, S.C.; Cambridge, Md.; Chelmsford, Mass.; Deerfield Beach, Fla.; Dover, N.H.; Erie County, N.Y.; Essex, Conn.; Fitchburg, Wis.; Granville, Ohio; Helena, Mont.; Hellertown, Pa.; Jersey Shore, Pa.; Kayenta Township, Ariz.; Lincoln, Neb.; McKinney, Texas; Muskegon, Mich.; Nashville/Davidson, Tenn.; Northampton, Mass.; Oak Ridge, Tenn.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Portland, Maine; St. Louis, Mo.; Pike’s Peak Council of Governments, Colo.; Ranson, W.Va.; Reedsburg, Wis.; Renton, Wash.; Rockport, Texas; Shelburne, Vt.; Spencer, N.C.; Syracuse, N.Y.; and Wichita, Kan.
More information on the Building Blocks program: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/buildingblocks.htm
More information on the Partnership for Sustainable Communities: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/partnership/index.html