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City of Peoria Press Release

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More Than Just Colorful Words

Peoria's Leadership Is Serious About Integrating Sustainability into City Operations


By Susan J. Daluddung,

You hear a lot about “sustainability” these days. The generally accepted definition is “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

That is a lot of responsibility. Decisions we face here in Peoria are crucial to our quality of life now and in the years ahead. The timing of the federal stimulus program has bumped them to the top of the agenda. We want to spend wisely for the long term and not wildly on random experimentation.

To guide our decision-making, we have created a Sustainability Action Plan that takes into account economic, environmental and social interests. Our goal is to promote and achieve sustainability in operations and business practices, as well as in future growth and development.

Creating Informed Debate

We do not make these choices in a vacuum. We need to understand our options, talk them through and figure out how they line up with Peoria’s values.

To help us all assess those options, we’ve launched our Building Community speaker series and created a sustainability Web page.

The first two Building Community sessions looked at Peoria’s urban planning in a regional context and what lessons could be learned from Scottsdale’s success in conserving desert land and connecting it to the community. They remain available for viewing online at www.peoriaaz.gov/channel_11. Three more sessions are scheduled – Oct. 6, Nov. 3 and Feb. 2, all at 4 p.m. in the City Hall Pine Room – on topics such as economic development, community development, housing and transportation. They are open to the public and will air live on Peoria Channel 11.

The city’s sustainability Web page (www.peoriaaz.gov/sustainability) shows the steps Peoria has taken and offers suggestions for folks who want to conserve energy and otherwise reduce their environmental footprint.

Planning and Implementing Sustainability

So what has Peoria done besides talk?

As part of a citywide reorganization, the former Community Development Department will shed its code-compliance and permitting roles to become the new Planning and Sustainability Department. This top-level change should refocus the way we think about the future, making sustainability an integral part of the development process.

Peoria also has changed the way it does business. We’re reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by trimming and modernizing the city fleet, cutting back on the amount of energy and fuel we use and, whenever possible, shifting to renewable energy sources. The city will undertake solar- and wind-power generating projects at various facilities this year.

To support all these efforts, Peoria is seeking public and private partnerships to encourage cooperation and bring a regional perspective to planning, conservation, transportation, economic development and building efforts. We will market the city’s energy strategy, as well as our overarching sustainability policy, to promote and encourage civic engagement.

The city’s economic development is tied intricately to sustainability. Peoria will create a friendly business climate for renewable energy companies. We plan on doing this by creating demand for their products and services. We will promote and facilitate sustainable developments in our community and look for ways to build and retrofit city facilities to make them more sustainable too.

Peoria is not only doing the right thing by embracing sustainability and acting upon its principles, but also saving money and creating a friendly environment for sustainable economic growth. You can, too – visit www.peoriaaz.gov/sustainability to learn more.

Susan J. Daluddung is Peoria’s deputy city manager for development and community services.