For years, James River Park with manager Ralph White has been trying to get composting toilets installed at the Pump House and thanks to some helpful connections from Alicia Zatcoff, he will soon get his wish. Zatcoff, the City of Richmond’s sustainability manager, said that she tries to help suggest ways other departments can improve sustainability […]
For years, James River Park with manager Ralph White has been trying to get composting toilets installed at the Pump House and thanks to some helpful connections from Alicia Zatcoff, he will soon get his wish.
Zatcoff, the City of Richmond’s sustainability manager, said that she tries to help suggest ways other departments can improve sustainability and has consulted on several initiatives in the city, including in the JRPS, which has long been one of the leaders in eco-friendly management. The composting toilets will be the first of their kind in the city.
“It’s part of my role to help facilitate projects in different departments,” she said. “It’s to everybody’s benefit that we help each other.”
About 170 people attended the RVAGreen Sustainability workshop held June 9 at the Carillon in Byrd Park. ”We are trying to get input from as many segments of the city as we can as we develop the plan,” Zatcoff said. “It was a great turnout, they were very engaged…seems like everyone there was very interested in our objectives.”
Several initiatives related to sustainability that are in place or on the way, including the creation of a full-time bike, pedestrian and trail coordinator; institution of an anti-idoling policy for city vehicles; tele-working and more. Other current green initiatives in the city: To the Bottom and Back, community gardens, Cannon Creek Greenway, GRTC bike racks, bayscaping, solar utility poles, etc.
Community gardens are still growing growing in popularity in the city and are an important part of community unity. The are certainly part of the sustainability plan, Zatcoff said.
“We are taking our own city property and making it available to citizens” she said, to grow vegetables and flowers on unused (and in some cases, blighted) properties. They want communities to suggest more ways to make community gardens work and remain a lasting part of Richmond. “We don’t see it as a trend,” she said. “We want to find ways to help make it last.”
From the City of Richmond:
What is Sustainability? Generally defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In Richmond this means ensuring a clean and healthy environment; a competitive economic advantage; and fair access to livelihood, education, and resources for community members now and into the future.
What is a Sustainability Plan? A comprehensive set of goals and strategies focused on improving environmental quality, economic strength, and social equity within a community. The Plan works like a roadmap guiding the City towards a more sustainable future, through the implementation of strategies identified through a comprehensive, inclusive stakeholder process.
The City will use the following five focus areas:
- Economic Development: Encourages a vibrant economy and includes such topics as: affordable housing, green and local jobs, sustainable businesses and urban agriculture.
- Energy: Encourages energy conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy and green power purchasing.
- Environment: Encourages conservation and support of the natural world and natural resources including: air quality and the management of solid waste and water resources.
- Open Space and Land Use: Encourages sustainable land use patterns and protecting urban open spaces by focusing on topics such as: the urban tree canopy, green spaces and mixed use development.
- Transportation: Focuses on sustainable modes of transportation and an improved infrastructure including: bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, alternative fuels, complete streets and parking.
Timeline: The sustainability planning process will last approximately twelve months and it includes the city releasing a draft report around November 2011 and a final report in April 2012.