Mayors announce green initiative at Milwaukee conference

By Stacy Vogel Davis
The Business Journal of Milwaukee

Milwaukee, WI (June 17, 2010)- The mayors of more than 70 cities along the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River pledged Thursday to adopt and expand green municipal practices with the launch of the Green CiTTS program. A group of about 25 mayors representing cities in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Ontario and Quebec announced the new initiative, which stands for Cities Transforming Towards Sustainability, during a press conference at the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative annual meeting, held this year at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee

The project will start its first year with a $100,000 grant from the Joyce Foundation, a Chicago organization committed to protecting the Great Lakes and improving the quality of life in the Great Lakes region. The initiative hopes to leverage that money to get more grants from foundations and federal, state and local governments to grow the budget to $400,000 to $500,000, said David Ullrich, executive director.

The program will focus on 20 goals within four areas: protecting water resources and coastal areas, promoting low-carbon energy generation and consumption, adopting green land use and building design and encouraging green economic development. It will share best practices, offer training, enter into research partnerships, raise money for municipal projects and present special awards, according to a news release about the program.

Each year will have a different theme, said Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago. This year’s theme is reducing and improving the quality of storm water runoff. “Today we mayors have taken an important region-wide step forward,” Daley said.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett pointed to Milwaukee’s storm sewer improvements and green roof installations as examples for other cities to follow. The city won an “effective use of technology” award Thursday morning from Milwaukee-based Public Policy Forum for installing a green roof on Central Library. The same project was honored in The Business Journal’s 2010 Green Business Awards.

Together, the member mayors of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative represent 13 million Americans and Canadians. The initiative aims to protect and restore the vitality of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River and improve the quality of life for residents of the region. The annual conference continues through Friday.

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Mayors announce green initiative at Milwaukee conference