Going green

Study says we are one of the greener cities in Indiana

It used to be just grass and debris.

By the end of the year, though, a little area at the northwest corner of Lafayette Street and Pettit Avenue will have a path, lights, trees, shrubs and even a butterfly garden greeting people coming through what city officials call a major gateway into downtown.

That’s thanks to $132,000 in Legacy funds the city is using to turn the area — once the site of homes that slowly disappeared due to a two-decades long road-widening project — into a welcoming urban oasis and green space. 

The project may be on the smaller side of the spectrum compared to others like the Riverfront, but it’s one of the latest in efforts around Fort Wayne to make the city more and more environmentally and green friendly.

And a new Wallethub study which looked at environment, energy sources and lifestyle and policy found Fort Wayne is the greenest of the two big cities in the Hoosier state.

The study, 2016’s Greenest Cities, ranked Fort Wayne 65th out of the 100 largest cities in the nation when it comes to being green, so there is plenty of work to be done. But the city has been doing it, adding bike lanes all over downtown and beyond in recent years as well as continuously expanding trails and the Rivergreenway.

California had the best cities in the rankings, with San Francisco, San Jose, Fremont and San Diego taking four of the top five spots. Indianapolis, the only other Indiana city in the rankings, was No. 73.

While Fort Wayne did not score well when it comes to energy sources — we ranked 90th for our solar energy installations, smart energy policy initiatives and electricity from renewable resources — we ranked No. 40 in environment.

That category included a look at air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, water quality and the amount of green space in a city.

“Beauty, though often relegated to the sidelines, is the source of a great deal of value added, especially in the real estate realm,” said Robert Young, an assistant professor in the school of architecture at the University of Texas at Austin, who was quoted in the study. “It also helps retain capital in the metro area.”

Those coming into the city on Lafayette Street will soon be able to see something quite a bit more beautiful at the corner of Pettit Avenue than they had for years before. Plus, there will be a sign for the nearby historic Lafayette Place neighborhood.

Just another project that makes the city a little bit better looking.

And a little more green.


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