Good news for Boise!

Green Wall at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada by Nedlaw Living Walls.

Green Wall at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada by Nedlaw Living Walls.

CHA-CHING!

I felt like a kid tallying up a wish list and counting down the days to Christmas when I got the press release that the City of Boise will get a whopping $2,039,200 in stimulus funding through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program.

According to Adam Park, communications director for the city of Boise, the money — and more was distributed throughout the state — was awarded “on the basis of resident population and daytime (commuter) population.” He said the funding is intended to be used in three particular ways:

1. Reduce fossil fuel emissions created as a result of activities within the jurisdictions of eligible entities in a manner that is environmentally sustainable; and to the maximum extent practicable, maximizes benefits for local and regional communities;

2. Reduce the total energy use of the eligible entities;

3. Improve energy efficiency in the transportation sector; the building sector; and other appropriate sectors.

While the city is deciding how best to spend the money (and looking at projects recommended by the City’s Climate Change Advisory Committee), there is a HUGE automatic plus that comes along with the money.

More jobs in the city of Boise will be created as a result of this funding.

“Yes, this is great news,” Park said. “In addition to making Boise more
environmentally-friendly, this grant will also help to create much
needed jobs in our community.”

The timeline: The city is looking at recommendations and the grant must be submitted on June 25. Then, the Dept. of Energy must confirm that the proposed projects meet the proper criteria before final funding will be granted. The projects may get underway in late 2009 or early 2010.

Some of the proposals from the City’s Climate Change Advisory Committee include:
• Planting more trees.
• Improving and widening the Greenbelt.
• Adopting a city-wide anti-idling ordinance. (The City of Boise has already adopted an anti-idling ordinance for city vehicles. With a few exceptions, the ordinance requires city vehicles be turned off rather than idling if the vehicle is going to be sitting longer than 30 seconds outside traffic lanes.)
• Encouraging living closer to work, encouraging more bicycle riding. There’s even a proposal to have bicycle stations around Downtown so you could bike to here and there on city bikes.
• Bring Amtrak back. There, I said it and it’s in the CCCAC’s recommendations. I say let’s do it!
• There are also recommendations about reducing the use of plastic shopping bags, which many folks are doing already, and implementing greener buildings, including building “living walls.”
• Park guided me to Wikipedia for more on what, exactly, a living wall is. Here’s a partial definition:
• “A green wall is a wall, either free-standing or part of a building, that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and, in some cases, soil or an inorganic growing medium. They are also referred to as living walls, biowalls, or vertical gardens.” For more on this, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Living_wall

More good news: If you want to put in your two-cents worth about what to do with this funding, you can. People can make suggestions by visiting the City of Boise’s stimulus tracking website “Accountable Boise” at cityofboise.org/stimulus.

(I’m going to push for building a light rail to the top of Bogus!)

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