A 150 block area of Kansas City is under plans for some green renovation. The Green Impact Zone initiative is using grants and funds from a variety of sources including access to a $20 million grant from the Department of Energy that was just announced Wednesday. This grant was given to EnergyWorksKC to facilitate sustainability throughout the city and create jobs. The largest part of the Green Impact Zone initiative is the retrofitting and efficiency improvements to homes in the area.
The Green Impact Zone improves the sustainability of not only the homes, but the community itself. They are starting job training programs, community policing programs, and improving the infrastrucutre of the area. The program, first proposed by U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, takes sustainability and uses it as a tool for building communities, providing jobs, and creating a safer neighborhood.
This zone, bordered by Troost Ave. and Prospect, is known as a poor area with crime and large scale unemployment. It is a challenge to turn that around and is a great chance to show off the power of sustainability and community building.
Anita Maltbia is the director of the program and she recently was recognized by Grist.org for her work with Green Impact Zone. This program is truly innovative and something that other cities should be trying to emulate in trying to improve poorer areas of large cities.
The initiative faces many challenges in their goals, of course. One of the positive obstacles they have is the large volume of ideas and offers for help they receive. It gets to be difficult to sort through everything to accomplish the goals of their one year plan, but its comforting to know that people are offering to help.