Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hailey gets ‘climate showcase’ grant

Sustainability coordinator will oversee green programs


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

Mariel Platt is the city of Hailey’s new sustainability coordinator. The position is funded by a federal grant.

Hailey is gearing up to expand and promote its green initiatives later this month with the Hailey Climate Community Challenge, a valleywide initiative made possible in part by a $472,000 Climate Showcase Community Grant awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in January.

The grant will be matched with about $175,000 of city funds and some $62,000 of in-kind contributions from 15 partnering organizations, bringing the total expenditures in the Hailey Climate Community Challenge program to $706,000.

The grant will provide about $80,000 in funding to Mountain Rides Transportation Authority, the Wood River Land Trust Building Materials Thrift Store and the Environmental Resource Center to expand their programs.

Former city planner Mariel Platt will move into a new three-year position funded in part by the EPA grant. As Hailey's newly appointed sustainability coordinator, Platt will oversee the various grant programs and continue to monitor existing programs in Hailey.

Platt said Hailey is one of 25 cities chosen from a pool of 300 grant applicants nationwide. The goal of the grants is to have participant cities act as models for other cities in the nation in addressing the challenges of climate change at the local level.

In February 2007, when Hailey Mayor Susan McBryant signed the U.S. Mayor's Climate Protection Agreement, the city joined more than 700 other municipalities in the United States committed to meeting or beating 1990 greenhouse-gas emissions levels. The agreement was signed by cities that wanted to meet the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol—a greenhouse-gas-emissions agreement the U.S. has not signed, though 141 other countries have. Since then, Hailey has passed ordinances allowing home-based wind generators, chicken coops and fast-tracking energy-efficient buildings. Last year, it passed a voluntary green building code.

"It doesn't hurt us to have this track record and these accomplishments under our belt," Platt said.

The grant, city funds and contributions will provide for expansion of the city's Community Energy Audit and Retrofit program, a downtown bike share system, streetlight upgrades, green building demonstrations and other outreach initiatives.

David Butterfield of Diamond Sun Productions film company, will be awarded $47,000 from the EPA grant to make a documentary film detailing the history of Hailey's green initiatives.

The city of Hailey plans to kick off the grant program with a detailed presentation on March 28.

Information on the program can be found on the city's website, www.haileycityhall.org.




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