The Home Depot Foundation's Sustainable Cities Institute has awarded the City of Fayetteville $500,000 to increase long-term solutions for green planning and development. The grant will be spread over three years and will flow through National Center for Appropriate Technology. Weekly updates will be available to the public.
Initial plans are to build 40 ENERGY STAR-certified homes in the Walker Park neighborhood.
These homes, for low- to-moderate-income families, will advance goals for healthy, affordable housing, improve access to alternative transportation corridors, and increase economic opportunity in the area.
It really is quite a deal. In addition to building to meet LEED standards, the design will maximize tree canopy conservation. Also, urban cooling eco-services will be considered.
In conjunction with building the new neighborhood, a how-to manual will be developed to guide developers in reducing non-point pollution from storm water run-off into streams, rivers, and ultimately into drinking water reservoirs.
A section of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Multi-Trail system will be extended to neighborhood, which will provide residents with inexpensive transportation options and opportunities to further reduce overall vehicle traffic in Fayetteville.
And not to be overlooked, a community garden is also included in the project's design.
Of course, $500,000 cannot possibly cover expenses - but it's a good start. It is the initial funding for a project estimated at $8 to $10 million. The city has contributed some funding and the Walton Foundation matched the city's contributions.
Thirty-seven cities across the country applied for the grants and only two were available. By awarding the grant to Fayetteville, it would seem Home Depot Foundation recognized our city's long-term commitment to sustainability. (See my May 3, 2009 blog).
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