KANSAS CITY, KAN. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected Jefferson City, Mo., for green design assistance that includes cleaning up and recycling vacant lands, providing greater housing and transportation choices, reducing energy costs, and improving waterways.
“This project will address environmental concerns, green building techniques, and help revitalize neighborhoods, spurring economic and social benefits in Missouri’s capital city,” said Karl Brooks, regional administrator. “Plans include a downtown connection of the Katy Trailhead Park to the Missouri River Bridge and development of green building designs to provide greater housing choices. In addition, the project will reconnect the city with its 100 historic buildings through trails, walkways, and bike paths that connect to the city’s pedestrian and bike trails.”
Through its new Greening America’s Capitals program, EPA will fund private sector experts to provide sustainable design assistance to Jefferson City, Boston, Mass.; Hartford, Conn.; Charleston, W.Va.; and Little Rock, Ark. This is a new project of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, an unprecedented agreement between EPA, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to coordinate federal housing, transportation, and environmental investments; protect public health and the environment; promote equitable development; and help address the challenges of climate change. HUD and DOT were involved in the review and selection process and will provide technical expertise on relevant portions of each project.
Jefferson City and the four other state capital cities were selected from a total of 38 cities that responded to a solicitation of interest by EPA. The agency will now organize teams of urban planners and landscape architects to provide direct, customized technical assistance as requested by Jefferson City officials. Greening America’s Capitals is not a grant program, but provides direct technical assistance to communities by working with private sector experts and leveraging partnerships, such as with HUD and DOT, to consider implementation options. In addition to helping the selected state capitals build civic pride and a greener future, this assistance will help create models that many other cities can look to in creating their own sustainable designs.
Jefferson City’s primary area of focus is bounded on the west by U.S. Highways 63/54, on the north by the Missouri River, on the south by U.S. Highways 50/63, and by the Capitol Building on the east. Wears Creek and vacant properties within the area provide the greatest opportunity for reconnecting nearby residents in the Southside neighborhood to the riverfront. Wears Creek can serve as an important connection to planned bike and pedestrian greenways in Jefferson City.
EPA‘s support of the Jefferson City project is also undertaken to advance EPA’s Urban Waters focus, which seeks to support communities in their efforts to access, improve, and benefit from their urban waters and surrounding lands. EPA’s Urban Waters efforts place particular emphasis on engaging underserved neighborhoods and on providing equitable access to urban waters through well-planned community revitalization leading to improved urban water quality. EPA’s assistance to Jefferson City will integrate the goals of both the agency’s urban waters and livability efforts.
Partners on this project include: Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, State Senator Carl Vogel, Jefferson City Mayor John Landwehr, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Missouri Department of Transportation, Missouri State Office of Administration Jefferson City Council, Jefferson City Housing Authority & Land Clearance Authority, Jefferson City Environmental Quality Commission, Jefferson City Planning & Zoning Commission, Jefferson City Parks & Recreation Department, Historic Jefferson City, Old Town Revitalization Company, Downtown Association, Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce.