Sustainability and Community Gardens in Cleveland

Cleveland is embracing sustainability as a tool for economic development.

07-28-2010 // Jennifer Janssen

Environmental initiatives keys to reinvigorating urban centers by increasing the number of green jobs, creating community gardens and protecting air and water resources. NWF is engaging with efforts in the Great Lakes Region's ten largest urban centers to "green" the cities. 

Simone Lightfoot returned from a visit to Cleveland and reports back on the green initiatives in the city's urban center:

2005 was the year that many big cities in Ohio simultaneously ushered in African American mayors.  One of those was Frank G. Jackson, a fellow military veteran and former Ward 5 Cleveland City Councilman became Cleveland's 56th mayor.

A lawyer by trade Jackson won a seat on the Cleveland City Council in 1989 and ascended to Council President in 2001 before becoming mayor. He established the City of Cleveland Office of Sustainability in 2005 with a focus on saving money and reducing the City's ecological footprint. The office advises the City on energy & energy efficiency, Green building, community health & environment, and waste reduction & recycling. The offices primary focus is City capital projects, operations, purchasing and engaging the greater community around sustainability.
The other day while walking the beautiful halls of City Hall - and getting an update on the cities latest green efforts from Jenita McGowan, the mayors Sustainability Manager, we literally ran into the extremely young looking Andrew Watterson, the cities Chief of Sustainability. Andrew, Jenita and their staff are fully engaged in ensuring Cleveland builds a Green City On A Blue Lake. Through creative partnerships and generous funders Cleveland is poised to save the city money, reduce its ecological footprint, use sustainability as a tool for economic development and introduce sustainability principles to city employees through a culture of education.

Can anyone say community gardens? Cleveland has community gardens all over the city. Local leaders guided me on a community garden tour that included the small space located at New Sardis A. J. Rickhoff School at 147th and Kinsman, the medium size Miles Garden (across from Schaefer Memorial United Methodist church) on E 120th and Miles. And the large commercial sized Kidd Nursery (near Trinity Cathedral Episcapal church) at 30th and Cedar.

Cleveland – like Cincinnati - is also instituting energy efficiency and energy conservation efforts in city facilities, operations and the vehicular fleet. They are also working to develop wind, solar, geothermal efforts, municipal solid waste-to-energy, alternative energy, community gardens, Green building and natural habitat protection.

Also important to the administration is developing walkable communities, addressing storm water concerns, green space planning and engaging non-traditional community allies.

Join the National Wildlife Federation as we co-sponsor Mayor Frank G. Jackson's Sustainable Cleveland 2010, a two-day summit designed to ensure Cleveland becomes a model of sustainability and a leader in the emerging green economy over the next nine years. Slated for September 22-23, 2010 at the Cleveland Convention Center from 9am-5pm.

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