West Union awarded $1 million for green projects - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

West Union awarded $1 million for green projects

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WEST UNION (KWWL) - Governor Chet Culver Tuesday announced another step forward in Iowa's efforts to become the center of green energy in the country with the awarding of $1 million to the City of West Union. The funds will be used to establish an innovative geothermal district-wide heating and cooling system (DHCS) and a radiant-heat snow-melt system.

West Union's planned renovation of six blocks of downtown infrastructure is called West Union Green Pilot Project. The awards were made through the Community Development Block Grant's (CDBG) Downtown Revitalization Fund and Community Sustainability program.

The community will replace aging infrastructure such as water, storm and sanitary sewers, streets, sidewalks and lights using environmentally friendly materials. The city also intends to complete a six block green streetscape including reconstruction of the streets and sidewalks from store front to store front. Porous pavement, rainwater harvesting and reuse, rain gardens and bioswales for stormwater retention will make the project green and sustainable. Geothermal conduits, radiant snow melt infrastructure and energy efficient street lighting will be installed.

No other community in the country will have integrated as many green infrastructure practices in one place and at one time as West Union, making the community a destination for planners, architects, engineers, and community officials looking to learn from the West Union model.

West Union was named one of Iowa's two Green Pilot Communities by IDED. The project began with a visioning workshop in October of 2007 when Iowa's Department of Economic Development (IDED) completed a Technical Assistance Visit to advise West Union about the potential for multi-purpose pedestrian-scale streetscape improvements.

The Iowa Green Streets Criteria promote public health, energy efficiency, water conservation, smart locations, operational savings and sustainable building practices. The Iowa Green Streets Criteria apply to Iowa Department of Economic Development Housing Fund, Community Development Block Grant Program Community Facilities and Services Fund, and Main Street Iowa Challenge Grant projects. As a result, the strategies enhance affordable housing, community facilities, town centers and communities as a whole.

Online Producer: Jason Mortvedt

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