Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Optimism about Springfield-- is there any other choice?

I went to Sarno's swearing-in as Mayor yesterday with a few other Arise members to see what I could see. It's the first swearing-in I've ever been to, so I have nothing to compare it with, but Sarno put his priorities out for all to see and of course we'll be keeping a close eye on him.

There's much I could comment about, but the big surprise for me yesterday was Sarno's commitment to move Springfield toward a truly environmentally-friendly city! This is long-overdue in Springfield. Ryan liked to call Springfield "green" because of our wealth of parks and waterways. But as far as I know, he never did anything proactive.

A recent article in the Republican about the new Federal Courthouse mentioned that the General Services Administration required that "art" be integrated into the building. Well, that's fine and good, but not a word about sustainability, energy recapture, solar power, etc. What a lost opportunity!

If I were mayor I'd say that not another building that uses federal, state or local money can be constructed without integrating green principles in the design. (Actually, I'd go farther, but that's another story.)

The Republican didn't mention Sarno's green goals, but it's probably on Bill Dusty's video of yesterday's ceremony.


Heather B said...

You can read the text of Sarno's speech at my blog:


Regarding environmentally friendly initiatives, here is what Sarno said:

"My fifth and last priority is environmental stewardship. It is an 'inconvenient truth' that the city of Springfield can do much more to promote local and global environmental health. We will designate a municipal official to coordinate and manage our 'green' initiatives. We will consider the environmental impact in procuring goods and services.

"We will critically evaluate our use of energy of all types and institute measures to reduce energy consumption. We will develop and implement smart growth policies that encourage 'green' design and sustainable development. And we will look at ways to reduce the city’s carbon footprint and to remediate existing environmental issues."

Stephanie Barry's article in the Republican about the federal courthouse included this sentence:

"Lost in the cost-cutting process were a few dozen underground parking spaces, a 'greener' heating system, one courtroom and various extras including stainless steel accent railings on the upper floors, managers said."

In other words it costs extra money to make it more environmentally friendly, at least at this stage of the game - more of an investment at the outset, if we want to realize the benefits later. Barry's article cites "global economic quirks" creating funding challenges.

Did you ever hear about the Green City Forum that was attempted in Springfield last October? It ended up being quietly cancelled.


Earth Day at the Quad is always inspiring, but doesn't get enough media play or spinoff activity:


There was also an announcement last April that Springfield would adopt a new marketing strategy: the green city.


Michaelann Bewsee said...

Thanks, Heather. Maybe this time, we'll get somewhere.