Friday, April 03, 2009

Green Impact Zone passes 13-0

I am pleased and proud to say that yesterday the City Council of Kansas City, Missouri unanimously adopted Resolution No. 090245 to establish the City of Kansas City’s participation both financially and operationally in the “Green Impact Zone” Initiative.

My thanks goes to the Members of the Council and Mayor who all spoke in favor of the idea and voted to make an area that is usually last, first. Please understand that the Council, by acting unanimously, put their own interest aside for the good of this project. I think their faith is well put in people in these neighborhoods and that their willingness to advance this idea gives Kansas City the chance to shine on a national stage.

Special thanks to Councilwoman Cindy Circo, the chief sponsor and Councilwomen Sanders Brooks, Curls, Marcason, Jolly and Councilman Riley for their extraordinary efforts to move this cause forward.

With all that thanks up front, I would like to take a moment to gush a bit about the neighborhood and community groups that have come together around this project. At every challenge as they have urgently pressed forward with this plan, these leaders have chosen unity. Instead of asking, "what's in it for me" they have asked "how can this work for everyone". They have personified community and commitment.

I am both very proud and very happy for these people who have worked so hard to have this opportunity. Congratulations and thank you to all.

Now we begin the hard work of making this a reality that people can see and feel. It is time to give President Obama a poster child for the stimulus on steroids.

The plan in a nutshell:

As a result of meetings with community leaders, city staff, elected
officials locally and Cabinet and administration officials in Washington, D.C.
an idea has advanced that will target stimulus investments in a way that
maximizes and deepens the impact of every dollar in a hard hit area of Kansas

This designated section of the City is bounded by 39th Street on the
north, 51st Street on the south, Troost Avenue on the west and Prospect Avenue
to 47th Street over to Swope Parkway on the east. Directly affected are the
neighborhoods of Ivanhoe, Blue Hills, 49/63 and Manheim and Town Fork Creek,
some of the City’ strongest neighborhood organizations. The area is called the
“Green Impact Zone of Missouri.”

Through community discussions convened by the Mid-America Regional
Council, an overarching goal of training and putting residents of these
neighborhoods to work weatherizing every home that is eligible within the Zone
has been suggested. This is no small task, but has the potential of reducing
utility bills, conserving electricity and creating sustainable jobs for a
portion of the City where unemployment is hovering between 20-50 percent.

As the discussions of the Green Impact Zone have progressed, excitement
has built and partnerships have been forged. Kansas City Power and Light has
stepped up to the plate and committed that, if the city is willing to adopt this
plan, KCP&L is willing to invest and deploy a “Smart Grid” in the Zone. A
Smart Grid provides enhanced reliability and efficiency through real-time
information about electricity supply and demand. It also allows consumers to
manage their electricity use, and save money, by providing useful information
about electricity prices. Perhaps most importantly, a Smart Grid allows for
renewable energy sources, such as the power that will be produced in the Green
Impact Zone, to seamlessly feed into the energy grid. KCP&L’s commitment is
to create a model of the energy grid of the future unlike any in the

Committing to making neighborhoods east of Troost that have been
historically last now be first is long overdue.

I just received word that we should be receiving additional very good news next week that will play a major role in the Green Impact Zone. Stay tuned…