By Susan J. Daluddung,
You hear a lot about “sustainability” these days. The generally accepted
definition is “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability
of future generations to meet their own needs.”
That is a lot of responsibility. Decisions we face here in Peoria are crucial
to our quality of life now and in the years ahead. The timing of the federal
stimulus program has bumped them to the top of the agenda. We want to spend
wisely for the long term and not wildly on random experimentation.
To guide our decision-making, we have created a Sustainability Action Plan
that takes into account economic, environmental and social interests. Our goal
is to promote and achieve sustainability in operations and business practices,
as well as in future growth and development.
Creating Informed Debate
We do not make these choices in a vacuum. We need to understand our options,
talk them through and figure out how they line up with Peoria’s values.
To help us all assess those options, we’ve launched our Building Community
speaker series and created a sustainability Web page.
The first two Building Community sessions looked at Peoria’s urban planning
in a regional context and what lessons could be learned from Scottsdale’s
success in conserving desert land and connecting it to the community. They
remain available for viewing online at
www.peoriaaz.gov/channel_11. Three more sessions are scheduled – Oct. 6,
Nov. 3 and Feb. 2, all at 4 p.m. in the City Hall Pine Room – on topics such as
economic development, community development, housing and transportation. They
are open to the public and will air live on Peoria Channel 11.
The city’s sustainability Web page (www.peoriaaz.gov/sustainability)
shows the steps Peoria has taken and offers suggestions for folks who want to
conserve energy and otherwise reduce their environmental footprint.
Planning and Implementing Sustainability
So what has Peoria done besides talk?
As part of a citywide reorganization, the former Community Development
Department will shed its code-compliance and permitting roles to become the new
Planning and Sustainability Department. This top-level change should refocus the
way we think about the future, making sustainability an integral part of the
Peoria also has changed the way it does business. We’re reducing
greenhouse-gas emissions by trimming and modernizing the city fleet, cutting
back on the amount of energy and fuel we use and, whenever possible, shifting to
renewable energy sources. The city will undertake solar- and wind-power
generating projects at various facilities this year.
To support all these efforts, Peoria is seeking public and private
partnerships to encourage cooperation and bring a regional perspective to
planning, conservation, transportation, economic development and building
efforts. We will market the city’s energy strategy, as well as our overarching
sustainability policy, to promote and encourage civic engagement.
The city’s economic development is tied intricately to sustainability. Peoria
will create a friendly business climate for renewable energy companies. We plan
on doing this by creating demand for their products and services. We will promote
and facilitate sustainable developments in our community and look for ways to
build and retrofit city facilities to make them more sustainable too.
Peoria is not only doing the right thing by embracing sustainability and
acting upon its principles, but also saving money and creating a friendly
environment for sustainable economic growth. You can, too – visit
www.peoriaaz.gov/sustainability to learn more.
Susan J. Daluddung is Peoria’s deputy city manager for development and