HUD Regional Sustainable Grant Application to include 25 Counties in S.E. Tennessee and N.W. Georgia


The following is taken from the website about this Regional Sustainability Grant:

The funding being announced today will support regional planning efforts that integrate housing, land use, economic and workforce development, transportation, and infrastructure investments in a manner that empowers jurisdictions to consider the interdependent challenges of economic competitiveness and revitalization; social equity, inclusion, and access to opportunity; energy use and climate change; as well as public health and environmental impacts. The program places a priority on partnerships, including nontraditional partnerships including arts and culture, philanthropy, and bringing new voices to the regional planning process.

The program will support a number of activities related to the development and implementation of integrated long-range regional plans including, but not limited to:

engaging residents and stakeholders substantively and meaningfully in the development of the shared vision and its implementation.

  • identifying affordable housing, transportation investment, water infrastructure, economic development, land use planning, environmental conservation, energy system, open space, and other infrastructure priorities for the region;
  • establishing performance goals and measures;
  • providing detailed plans, policies, and implementation strategies to be implemented by all participating jurisdictions over time to meet planning goals;

Sustainable Communities Network Case Studies writes about Chattanooga’s efforts in the mid 1980’s to “restore air quality and become a sustainable model of sustainability.”      The study sites Chattanooga Venture, Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, Chattanooga City Council among others along with participation from the community as taking on the task to clean up the city “on all fronts-environmental, social, economic.”     Here’s an excerpt from the study:

Diverse groups of community members united and literally used brown paper and markers as they brainstormed, debated, categorized and organized their concerns. The result of the many community meetings was a set of 40 goals for the city to achieve by the year 2000. These goals fell under the categories of future alternatives, places, people, work, play and government . The goals were as diverse as creating a distribution and transportation center to strengthening the downtown area to solving existing problems in the area of air, water, toxic waste and noise pollution to strengthening the day care system and creating after and before school programs. Today, many of the original goals have been realized.

Mayor Ron Littlefield says that the new plan calls for multi-state, multi-jurisdictional cooperation as Chattanooga has moved from a place of “shrinking stagnation” to one of growth which brings issues like education and infrastructure into play.       In his State of the City Address for 2010, Littlefield commits to pursuing “a course of creating ‘green infrastructure’ as an alternative to our past practices of grey infrastructure below and impervious structures above ground.”    He uses the city of Philadelphia to exemplify potential cost-savings of integrating green infrastructure:

Philadelphia estimated that it would take $16 billion of pipes and holding areas over the next fifteen years just to meet their requirements and those of EPA and the state of Pennsylvania.

Unfortunately, for all of that expenditure they would get no visible benefit.  (Kind of like the plumbing in your home, it’s necessary, but not the focal point of the home.)

They have found that by putting green infrastructure on the surface (holding areas, landscaping, trees) that they can meet their requirements for 10% of that cost (or $1.6 billion instead of $16 billion).  In the process they accomplish multiple objectives:  Communities and Business Districts are revitalized.  Recreation areas are created. The city is more attractive and healthier. And, thousands of jobs will be created in process.  None of that happens by just expanding the city’s plumbing by adding more pipes and pits underground.

Aquarium Rain Garden

The above photograph comes from the Master Gardeners of Hamilton County website.

Reporting: Monessa Guilfoil

Listen to the Story:


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