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EPA Partnering with State Capitals on Green Design and Economic Revitalization

Release Date: 08/12/2011
Contact Information: Latisha Petteway (News Media Only), petteway.latisha@epa.gov, 202-564-3191, 202-564-4355

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that through its Greening America’s Capitals (GAC) project, it will help the capital cities of Alabama, Arizona, Mississippi, Nebraska and the District of Columbia to create healthy communities through green development. GAC will help to stimulate economic development, provide more housing and transportation choices, and reduce infrastructure and energy costs. Through this project, EPA will provide design assistance from private-sector experts to help these capital cities demonstrate sustainable designs that create vibrant neighborhoods with multiple social, economic, environmental, and public health benefits.

The five selected cities are:

Montgomery, Ala.
Montgomery will receive assistance to redesign a one-mile segment of the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail to improve the streetscape for walking and biking, include natural solutions to manage storm water, known as green infrastructure, and create better connections between neighborhoods for pedestrians in an area crisscrossed by major highway overpasses.


Phoenix, Ariz.
Phoenix will receive assistance that focuses on revitalizing Lower Grand Avenue, a key commercial strip that has the potential to become an area of economic growth by reusing historic buildings for a new mix of uses. The project will also provide examples of how to use green infrastructure in arid climates.


Washington, DC
The District of Columbia will receive assistance to make three intersections at the Anacostia Metro Station safer and more effective for cars, pedestrians, and bicycles. The project will also develop design options for the surrounding streets and open spaces to improve the area for pedestrians and increase connections to nearby homes, stores, and the new St. Elizabeth’s campus.


Jackson, Miss.
Jackson will receive assistance to redesign a downtown segment of Congress Street, which runs past the Mississippi State Capitol and Jackson City Hall. Assistance will include retrofitting the street and adjacent public spaces with green infrastructure to manage storm water, improve pedestrian access and safety, and encourage economic development.


Lincoln, Neb.
Lincoln requested assistance to create a green infrastructure pilot project in the South Capitol neighborhood. In this residential area, just two blocks from the state capitol, improved streetscape design could better manage storm water while supporting more walking, biking, and transit options.


GAC is a project of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities among EPA, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The interagency collaboration coordinates federal investments in infrastructure, facilities, and services to get better results for communities and use taxpayer money more efficiently. The partnership is helping communities across the country to create more housing choices, make transportation more efficient and reliable, reinforce existing investments, and support vibrant and healthy neighborhoods that attract businesses. HUD and DOT were involved in the review and selection process and will provide technical expertise on each project. This is the second year of the GAC program. The capital cities selected last year were Boston, Mass.; Jefferson City, Mo.; Hartford, Conn.; Charleston, W.Va.; and Little Rock, Ark.

The five capital cities were selected from 23 letters of interest received through a solicitation of interest by EPA. The agency will organize teams of regional urban designers, planners, and landscape architects to provide customized technical assistance as requested by each community. In addition to helping the selected state capitals build a greener future and civic pride, the assistance will help create models that many other cities can look to in creating their own environmentally and economically sustainable designs for growth and development.

More information on GAC: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/greencapitals.htm