What is Green Phoenix?
During the 2009 State of the City address, former Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon described an ambitious 17-point plan to green Phoenix. The plan, called Green Phoenix, strives to transform Phoenix into the most sustainable city in America. The intent of Green Phoenix is to leverage current city efforts and resources, build partnerships, create jobs and stimulate the local economy, and sustain quality of life for Phoenix residents.
In March 2009, former Mayor Gordon and Arizona State University President Michael Crow met with the U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu to discuss the Green Phoenix plan and to pursue a possible allocation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding to the city for plan implementation. In April 2009, the City Council Economy, Commerce and Sustainability (ECS) Subcommittee endorsed the plan and directed city staff to focus its efforts to the following six areas: Greener Neighborhoods; Solar City; Greening Homes and Businesses; Public Buildings LEED Retrofit; Renewable Energy; and Efficient City Lights. The ECS Subcommittee also directed staff to work in partnership with ASU to identify a target area that would be the centerpiece of the first phase of implementation of Green Phoenix.
In response to the Council’s direction, an ARRA Task Force was developed with multiple city departments participating to investigate and pursue ARRA opportunities.As of December 2010, Phoenix has been awarded $429 million in ARRA funding. Funded projects include green-retrofitting of public housing; improvements to bus park-and-ride lots and bus stops, and Central Station Transit Center; street improvements; retrofitting city facilities for energy efficiency and to add solar panels; water projects to replace aging infrastructure; and to restore 8 miles, or 380 acres of the Salt River.
In addition to the projects already initiated and in partnership with the ASU Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS), the ARRA Task Force developed the Green Rail Corridor Demonstration Project, now known as Energize Phoenix. This project will focus on the six priority areas of the 17-point plan along a specific geographical area located along the light rail from Central Avenue and Camelback Road to Tempe. The project will build on success from federal stimulus dollars already at work to make Phoenix a more sustainable community and pursue additional ARRA competitive funding as it is made available.