Greening America's Capitals Award goes to Frankfort, Kentucky
Dennis Carmichael of ParkerRodriquez landscape architects presents the new vision for downtown Frankfort
Frankfort, Kentucky is the latest of 15 state capitals chosen to receive the Environmental Protection Agency's prestigious Greening America's Capitals technical assistance award. The award funds a team of planning and design professionals to produce illustrations that showcase a sustainable vision for Kentucky's capital area with the input of federal, state, and local authorities, and particularly, community partners.
Over the past few months, representatives from the Partnership for Sustainable Communities (www.sustainablecommunities.gov/), which includes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) worked with city officials in Frankfort to create a vision of unique sustainable strategies that will complement and ensure a walkable and beautifully landscaped downtown that is safe and enjoyable for local pedestrians and visitors to the capital area.
During the recent public presentation by the planning and design professionals, all partners-including elected officials, neighborhood association members, parks and recreation staff, and bicycle/pedestrian advocates-played a key role in providing ideas that would address the city's key priorities. The priorities include addressing waste water runoff issues, encouraging economic development, enhancing the river walk area, and solving congested, unsafe areas of heavy traffic.
Besides the EPA, who is providing oversight and funding for the technical assistance, DOT and HUD are also active participants. The DOT provides expertise as it relates to rules, policies and regulations for roads, sidewalks, bike and pedestrian paths. Conversely, HUD is focused increasing the availability of affordable housing and ensuring equal access to housing for all citizens. However, most of the dialogue from each of the federal partners centers on incorporating the Partnership's Livability Principles (www.sustainablecommunities.gov/aboutUs.html#2).
The final plan will be delivered to Frankfort officials by June 2013. Federal officials will now work in concert with the city to identify funding resources that will help the city move toward plan implementation. Community members and city officials are enthusiastic about the imaginative and functional plan, and the Partnership for Sustainable Communities' members are energized by their contributions leading to the success of the plan development.