By Helena Battipaglia
City of Cincinnati
Mayor Aftab Pureval and Councilmember Meeka D. Owens launched the 10-month long community engagement process for the renewal of the Green Cincinnati Plan. The kickoff event was led by the Office of Environment and Sustainability and included members of Council, the Green Cincinnati Steering Committee and more than 260 members of the community.
About 85% of the recommendations of the 2018 plan are completed or on their way to completion, including construction of the largest municipal solar array, increasing public transit funding and developing programs to reduce low-income household energy bills.
City Council and Pureval have also taken bold action on climate change in their first six months, including committing to having the city fleet be fully comprised of electric vehicles by 2035; using funding from the American Rescue Plan to improve bicycle safety and infrastructure; and approving a massive initiative to install solar panels and improve energy efficiency at nine city buildings.
“We’ve taken great steps in Cincinnati over the years,” Pureval said. “Because of the effort of folks like yourselves, we are not only meeting our incremental goals in the Green Cincinnati Plan, but we’re surpassing them every step of the way. Through coordination and forward thinking, leaders right here are setting us up to create new jobs in the modern green economy while also making a profound impact on our environmental future.”
The 2023 Green Cincinnati Plan will establish the City’s sustainability goals and action items for the next five years. The city will prioritize climate equity and environmental and racial justice as it works to achieve a Cincinnati better equipped to address a changing climate. Engagement efforts will be ongoing over the coming months and include both online surveys and in-person events.
“With double the financial funding for the community engagement process, we are going to conduct outreach to neighborhoods that have historically been under-resourced and whose voices have not been centered in the conversation. The city is committed to bringing environmental solutions to all our communities,” said Councilmember Owens, Chair of the Green Cincinnati Steering Committee.
For the first time, Cincinnati is including equity as one of the core tenets of the Green Cincinnati Plan along with sustainability and resilience. With these tenets as the guide, the city will create substantial, lasting impact for the entire community.
“Climate change disproportionately impacts our Black communities, and it’s important that we are being deliberate about reducing that impact,” said Ashlee Young, chair of the equity subcommittee. “Often times when we talk about climate change, the language we use is not accessible to everyone and our hope is in this new plan we are able to bring the language to life in a way that resonates with all neighborhoods in our city.”