Dearborn was named Thursday as one of eight communities in America that will receive free neighborhood design consultation in 2012 from Global Green USA with the help of a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program.
The grant focuses attention on the to be built in west Dearborn, and the surrounding neighborhoods that will be part of a transit oriented development plan.
According to a release from the city, the grant pays for sustainability experts to make recommendations to the City of Dearborn on how to integrate environmentally-friendly and energy efficient concepts into the TOD. Four sustainability experts are expected to conduct three-day visits to Dearborn over the next six months.
The new train station itself will be built according to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver standards.
Global Green USA's website describes the organization as one that "works in partnership with local governments and other public agencies that are ready to 'do' sustainability. We help these entities create innovative and replicable policies, programs, and procedures so that sustainable practices become standard in the planning, design, construction, and operation of the built environment."
An important factor in the selection process was the presence of a significant upcoming project. Global Green USA said that the projects must be poised to serve as a model for future sustainable development in their communities.
For Dearborn, that project is the train station. Construction will start in the spring of 2012.
The train station, to be built on Michigan Avenue west of Southfield Freeway, will be the center of a TOD district that includes a historic neighborhood, local business, the and , the , major thoroughfares and Ford Motor Company headquarters.
Other criteria for the grant included the presence of a strong neighborhood organization, the involvement of community leaders, the demonstration that the project contributes to a larger plan, and the ability to leverage federal, state or philanthropic funds.
"The City of Dearborn is excited and ready to work closely with Global Green USA through this program," said Mayor Jack O'Reilly in a statement. “This is a timely opportunity for us to leverage the latest planning tools and concepts of LEED Neighborhood Development for improving physical design and policies to develop strategies for our ultimate goal of a sustainable future."
Walker Wells, director of Global Green USA’s Green Urbanism Program, added that the organization is “excited to be able to bring our expertise to these eight deserving communities.”
The other communities are Lafayette, Ind.; Eden Prairie, Mn.; Greensboro, N.C.; Lakewood, Colo.; Oakland, Calif.; Louisville, Ky.; and Philadelphia, Penn.
Starting in February, the Global Green sustainability team will conduct site assessments and present recommendations for both physical and policy changes that may include street width reductions, ecological restoration, integrated energy and water infrastructure, new standards for in-fill and transit-oriented development, or zoning code revisions to allow for urban agriculture or mixed-use development.
The assistance to the eight communities will be made possible by a grant from the U.S. EPA Office of Sustainable Communities under the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program.