Feds Dangling Green Planning Assistance in Front of State Capitals

Does Boise dream of a neighborhood bike path? Is Little Rock hankering to do something with an unsightly brownfield?

These state capitals, plus the other 48 (and the District of Columbia) can now apply for federal assistance in planning green and sustainable urban improvements, thanks to the Greening America’s Capitals program, a joint project of the EPA, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Department of Transportation.

The deadline for submitting a proposal under the program is July 9. Three or four  winning submissions will garner the lucky cities a strike team of planners, architects and urban designers to help flesh out their ideas for green civic improvements. The team will provide technical assistance in realizing its green dream, and at the end of the process produce “a set of illustrations depicting a sustainable civic vision for the selected area.”

“The selected cities will offer sustainable development models for their states and for many communities around the country,” said Lisa Heinzerling, associate administrator for EPA’s Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation. The idea is that green improvements at the capital can trickle out to the farther-flung portions of the state.

The program evaluators are looking for proposals with strong local support from multiple city agencies and at least one member of the state assembly.

Greening America’s Capitals is part of the EPA’s Smart Growth program, which fosters the adoption of policies that encourage mixed land uses, walkable neighborhoods and compact building design.

BC (Ben) Upham is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. He has written for the New York Times, and was a writer and editor for News Communications, Inc., a local paper consortium serving Manhattan. When he's not blogging on green issues -- and especially renewable energy -- he's hiking in the Angeles Mountains or hanging out at El Matador.

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