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Louisville Wins National Award for Community Partnerships, Green Initiatives

Wednesday October 24, 2007

Partnership for a Green City honored for collaboration to improve environmental practices

Louisville’s team effort to improve the environment has been judged as among the nation’s best by the National Association of Counties (NACo).

Louisville’s Partnership for a Green City is among the 10 winners of NACo’s Center for Sustainable Communities Awards. The awards are presented every two years to communities that have developed effective public-private partnerships that encourage economic growth along with environmentally responsible actions. The partnership was chosen for its focus on environmental management, education and health initiatives.

The partnership is an effort of Louisville Metro Government, the University of Louisville and Jefferson County Public Schools. When it was created in 2004, the partnership identified three goals: to improve environmental education in schools and the workforce, to research environmental exposure and public health impact, and to create guidelines for sustained environmental management. Since then, the group has developed environmental education for students and employees, improved recycling efforts, and recommended improved energy efficiency practices among each of the participating agencies.

“When we merged governments in 2003, we realized we had a unique opportunity to shape the environmental future of our city,” said Mayor Jerry Abramson. “The partnership allows us to work with our colleagues at U of L and JCPS to make truly effective, innovative changes that benefit the environment and our community.”

The three participating agencies include nearly 26,000 employees and 120,000 students, and together own more than 500 buildings and 7,000 vehicles. “The number of people who are involved through the three partners is staggering,” said Cass Harris, the city’s environmental policy coordinator. “By making significant environmental changes in our institutions first, we create an extraordinary opportunity for those best practices to spread throughout the community.”

This successful partnership of a local government, university, and public school system focused solely on environmental issues is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation. Lexington has replicated the program, with Bowling Green, Frankfort, and Richmond developing similar partnerships.

“I commend everyone who was involved in developing these outstanding community partnerships,” said NACo President Eric Coleman. “It is our hope that the national awards will spotlight your community’s great achievements and inspire others across the country to explore similar strategies to develop vibrant and sustainable communities.”

Representatives from the partnership will receive the NACo award this winter in Washington, D.C.