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EPA Helps Five State Capitals to Become Models of Green Design

Sep 13, 2010

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) named the five state capital cities it has committed to help pursue green development initiatives that include cleaning up and recycling vacant lands, providing greater housing and transportation choices, and reducing infrastructure and energy costs.

Through the Greening America's Capitals program, private sector funding will provide experts to assist the cities of Boston, Mass.; Jefferson City, Mo.; Hartford, Conn.; Charleston, W.Va.; and Little Rock, Ark to develop sustainable designs that create interesting, unique neighborhoods with multiple social, economic, environmental and public health benefits. The Agency will organize teams of urban planners and landscape architects to provide direct, customized technical assistance as requested by each community.

The projects selected are:

Boston, Massachusetts

The city of Boston asked for assistance to create greening options for City Hall Plaza, which was origianlly conceived as a public green space but has not realized its potential. Goals of the redesign will be to create well-defined edges and entrances, provide more bike access and parking, connect the plaza to existing streets, increase green elements such as trees and vegetation for better stormwater management, and support energy efficiency and green building improvements in City Hall and nearby buildings.

Charleston, West Virginia

EPA will assist with redesigning Slack Plaza, which sits in the middle of Charleston's downtown and is the site of the county's major transit hub. The area currently lacks green space, has no real sense of place, and is challenged by poor signage and safety issues.  Adding public art, trees, and redesigning the pedestrian corridors to serve a range of users will transform Slack Plaza into a a multi-modal transportation hub and well-used town square.

Hartford, Connecticut

The Greening America's Capitals will help Hartford create a redevelopment plan for the Capitol Avenue corridor,  a part of the city that includes the Connecticut State Capitol and Legislative Building, the State Library, the Supreme Court, and the State Armory, as well as residential and retail areas. Redesigns will focus on public open spaces, such as parks and state building grounds, as well as green street improvements that better manage stormwater, and also improve the pedestrian environment and aesthetic character of Capitol Avenue.

Jefferson City, Missouri

Jefferson City requested EPA assistance with an area of the city near the State Capitol and Capital Complex. The Wears Creek and Millbottom area is a flood-prone and forgotten zone of the city that includes vacant properties and parking lots. Jefferson City will work with a team of designers to develop aesthetically and functionally valuable landscape architecture designs that will result in both community and water quality benefits. This project is one of the first associated with the EPA Administrator's new Urban Waters focus, which seeks to support communities in their efforts to access, improve, and benefit from their urban waters and the surrounding land.

Little Rock, Arkansas

The city of Little Rock has been investing in sustainability by revitalizing key neighborhoods -- the next area the city plans to revitalize is the Main Street corridor that connects to the now-thriving River Market District. The Greening America's Capitals design team will assist with streetscape improvements that will promote redevelopment of the Main Street corridor, highlighting the impact that new pocket parks and reuse of vacant parking lots could have on encouraging future redevelopment and more pedestrian activity to support ground-floor retail and a future trolley line.

For more information: