Mayor Nutter, Elected Officials, Community Groups Break Ground on Hawthorne Park

Philadelphia, March 15, 2011- Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Michael DiBerardinis and community groups announced the groundbreaking Hawthorne Park. Construction of the new three-quarter acre green space, located at 12th and Catherine Streets, is expected to be complete by Spring 2012. Low-energy lights, a variety of plantings and water reduction measures will be included in the park’s design.This is the first new park development since the unveiling Green 2015, the City’s plan to add 500 acres of green space to communities across Philadelphia.

“This groundbreaking is symbolic of the commitment laid out in the Green 2015 plan to make our neighborhoods cleaner and greener,” said Mayor Nutter. “Hawthorne Park is one of many spaces that will be greened over the next four years so families across Philadelphia have convenient access to quality recreation and neighborhood improvement opportunities.”

The $2.2 million project will be funded with a $1.1 million grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, $300,000 in City capital funding, a $300,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development grant, $250,000 from The Pew Charitable Trusts through the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) and $250,000 from The William Penn Foundation through PHS.

Commissioner DiBerardinis thanked the Pa. Horticultural Society for its support and assistance with the community engagement process. “PHS and the Department of Parks & Recreation have developed a strong partnership through a collaborative effort on a variety of projects. We appreciate their support of the City’s efforts to bring more green into our communities,” DiBerardinis said.

Brenda Barrett, director of DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation said, “Just because a park is green does not mean that it is sustainable – we need our parks to improve environmental quality. Hawthorne demonstrates that we can build an affordable and quality green space in a dense urban neighborhood.”

Hawthorne Park was selected among more than 150 projects across America to participate in a sustainable design pilot program. The SITES two-year pilot program, part of the Sustainability Sites Initiative, will rank various sustainable design projects across America, based on The Guidelines and Performances Benchmark 2009. A 2013 report ranking the projects of various scopes and sizes will be used to encourage additional sustainable design, construction and maintenance of landscapes across America. To learn more about the SITES two-year pilot program, visit http://www.sustainablesites.org/

Mayor Nutter Breaks Ground on Fairmount Bikeway Improvement Project

Philadelphia, March 14, 2011- Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced the groundbreaking of the Fairmount Bikeway Improvement Project. Improvements to the Fairmount Bikeway trail, which connects Kelly Drive to the lower Wissahickon and the Schuylkill River Trail to Valley Forge, are expected to be completed by June, 2011.

“Thousands of recreation enthusiasts and commuters use Philadelphia’s trails every day and we want to continue to encourage their healthy lifestyle habits,” said Mayor Nutter. “These improvements are especially important, as the City continues to think innovatively about reducing our carbon footprint. We thank all of our partners for their support of this project.”

Improvements will include a widening of the existing recreation path to improve access along the Schuylkill Trail, upgrades to the existing parking area and safety enhancements that will separate pedestrians and bicyclists from automobile traffic that accesses the parking lot. The $1.1 million project is being funded with a $500,000 grant from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, a $400,000 Federal Highway Transportation Enhancement Grant that was provided from PennDOT and $200,000 in funding from the William Penn Foundation, provided through the Schuylkill River Greenway Association.

“The Fairmount Bikeway from Falls Bridge to Ridge Avenue is a key link in both Fairmount Park’s multi-use recreational trail system and the larger Schuylkill River Trail, which will ultimately connect Philadelphia to Pottsville in Schuylkill County via a multi-use trail extending the entire length of the river—a distance of approximately 130 miles,” said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Michael DiBerardinis.

EPA Ranks Philadelphia 14th in 2010 List of Cities with Most Energy Star Certified Buildings

Philadelphia continues to make progress to become greenest city in the United States.

Philadelphia, March 14, 2011- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ranked Philadelphia 14th in its 2010 list of U.S. cities with the most ENERGY STAR certified buildings. Buildings that earn the EPA’s ENERGY STAR certification perform in the top 25 percent for energy efficiency when compared to similar buildings nationwide. ENERGY STAR certified buildings use an average of 35 percent less energy than other buildings and include buildings such as commercial offices and warehouses. This ranking further contributes to the City’s Greenworks Philadelphia commitments to lower citywide building energy consumption by 10 percent by 2015. Philadelphia’s certification rate has risen to a 14th place ranking up from 23rd place ranking in 2009.

“I am thrilled that the City was named by the EPA as one of the top 25 U.S. cities with ENERGY STAR certifications. For three years, the City Administration worked hard with stakeholders and governmental partners to encourage energy efficiency through Greenworks Philadelphia and our many groundbreaking initiatives and partnerships. I will continue to advocate for energy savings as part of our effort to make Philadelphia the greenest city in the United States,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter.

Philadelphia has undertaken several efforts to promote energy efficiency as part of Greenworks Philadelphia. In November, Mayor Nutter and the Metropolitan Caucus launched EnergyWorks, a comprehensive, regional energy solutions program that encourages individuals and businesses to make energy investments by offering low-interest loans to pay for energy efficiency improvements. This innovative and nationally recognized program is supported by a $25 million US Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Program fund.

Additionally, Mayor Nutter was appointed by U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Dr. Steven Chu to serve as a member of the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Advisory Committee (ERAC). The Committee’s role is to advise the Secretary of Energy on issues related to energy efficiency and renewable energy, and to provide recommendations on long-term planning, priorities, strategy and funding.

“It’s gratifying to see that building owners in the region are increasingly taking advantage of the Energy Star program, which helps to promote the smart steps they are taking to save on energy use and costs,” said Katherine Gajewski, City of Philadelphia Director of Sustainability.

EPA’s ENERGY STAR performance scale was introduced in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce the consumption of greenhouse gas emissions through energy conservancy. Buildings ranked with 75 points or above on a 100 point scale are eligible for ENERGY STAR certification. Commercial buildings that can earn ENERGY STAR certification include office buildings, bank branches, medical offices, supermarkets, retail stores and warehouses. For more information, please visit http://www.energystar.gov.

Greenworks Philadelphia sets goals in five areas—energy, environment, equity, economy and engagement—and its work encompasses more than 150 initiatives. The initiatives are intended to reduce the city’s vulnerability to rising energy prices, to limit its environmental footprint, and to reposition its workforce to build upon Philadelphia’s competitive advantages in the emerging green economy. For more information, please visit http://www.phila.gov/green/.