Friday, April 24, 2009

Going to Greensburg

This is an exciting time for Kansas City. In order to recover from the current economic downturn, Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) to stimulate job creation, with much of the focus on environmental sustainability and energy efficiency. As you are probably aware, Kansas City has taken the bold and innovative step of creating a Green Impact Zone in the heart of the urban core to concentrate and deepen the impact of the ARRA funds in a particularly hard-hit area of Kansas City. These funds will help these neighborhoods rebuild green, saving energy and creating a more sustainable environment.

You may remember seeing stories in the news two years ago about Greensburg, Kansas, which was almost completely destroyed by a powerful tornado in May 2007. Greensburg took the historic step of committing to rebuild the entire town using green principles. I am convinced that we, as individuals working to rebuild the Green Impact Zone, can benefit from the wealth of experience and knowledge that the people of Greensburg now have.

And so tomorrow morning, bright and early, I will be leading a delegation of Green Impact Zone residents and community leaders to Greensburg. This fact-finding trip will, I hope, help build a comfort level with “green” and allow local residents to talk with the residents of Greensburg about the advantages of green.

I truly believe the problems faced by urban core, primarily African American and poor residents of the Green Impact Zone are remarkably similar to the issues faced by the rural residents of Greensburg. I think we will find a great deal of common ground, and join these plains pioneers as believers in green.

I have never been to Greensburg either, and so I am excited to see this model first hand.

Wish us luck!