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Innovative Sustainability Practices: Parking Study
Sustainability; Public Works
A specialized parking study was developed to monitor existing parking standards as compared with actual usage; to determine the effectiveness of the current standards to meet demand; to evaluate if local conditions reflected national averages; and determine if modified parking standards would result in more sustainable practices. The parking study involved two years of observation, data collection and analysis of 65 mixed use commercial developments by cCity staff during peak hours. Out of this study, a new parking chapter for the City of Chesterfield Zoning Ordinance was adopted. The parking study was a collaborative effort of the Planning and Development Services Division that included planners, engineers and code enforcement personnel. This study can be replicated by other municipalities to be forward thinking, incorporate new planning trends and innovative ideas while looking towards a more sustainable model of development and redevelopment.
Single Family Cost of Living Survey
Staff from the city of Harrisonville conducted a single family cost of living survey among 50 cities in the Kansas City metro area. City officials had received testimony from residents concerning the high cost of living in Harrisonville compared to surrounding cities, and they wanted to compare all relevant costs in an accurate manner. Communication Information Specialist Sheryl Stanley coordinated the data gathering for the survey. All cities want to know where they rank compared to their neighbors on subjects such as property taxes, utilities, etc. Comparing taxes and fees are the most basic form of performance measurement. The information was shared with all cities included in the survey. Since the spreadsheet is built upon a consistent set of assumptions and formulas, interested cities can update whenever needed, just as Harrisonville will. The survey also is designed so that assumptions may be changed, and the results under the different scenarios compared.
Disaster Relief Shelter Community Partnership
A unique and successful community partnership, initiated by the city of Pleasant Hill, brings together the City, the Red Cross, the Methodist Church, and 41 community volunteers to provide a Disaster Relief Shelter for the citizens of Pleasant Hill. If residents are left homeless by a tornado or other disaster, or left without power and heat in a winter ice storm, a fully operational Red Cross Disaster Relief Shelter can be activated at a moment’s notice. A Disaster Response Team of 41 volunteers, including 27 trained in shelter operations by the Red Cross, will operate the facility. Volunteers will be mobilized using the Police Communications Center “Code Red” notification system. If power is lost at the shelter, a city-owned mobile generator will be brought in and installed by the Public Works Department. On-going shelter planning is conducted through a committee comprised of project partners, headed by a local volunteer coordinator, with guidance from the Greater KC Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Safe Drug Disposal Initiative
What do people generally do with expired or unwanted prescription or over-the-counter drugs? Many individuals may toss potentially toxic drugs into the trash can, flush them down the sink or toilet, or leave them cluttering up the cabinets. Most may not realize that their methods of drug disposal may be harmful to our environment through landfills and waterways, or may have the potential of falling into the wrong hands. Recognizing this fact, Wentzville Ward 1 Alderman Leon Tow challenged the police department to create a permanent solution for this ongoing problem. The city of Wentzville, Missouri, wanted to engage the community in a project to raise awareness and provide a safe disposal method for unwanted prescription and over-the-counter drugs. A secure drug disposal box was placed in an area within the front doors of the Wentzville Police Department with 24-hour surveillance to ensure both the safety and anonymity of the individual disposing of the drugs and of the contents of the box. The community embraced the safe drug disposal project, originally brought to fruition with the effort of only one police officer, to the extent that the safe drug disposal box has become a permanent fixture within the police department.
City of Windsor Vision
The city of Windsor needed to update the Comprehensive Plan from the 1990s. West Central Missouri Community Action Agency wrote a grant to partner with Drury University Center for Community Studies Studio - Hatmnons School of Architecture, University of Missouri Extension Council and other cities to develop and test conceptual ideas by following smart growth planning principles and present a Vision Plan to the cities. The city of Windsor was presented a Vision Plan Book February 10, 2011, and has begun revisions on the Comprehensive Plan.
Fire Department Training partnership
Partnerships with other cities are a key element to providing high-quality, public safety services to residents. To this end, the Clayton Fire Department, coordinated a series of fire training exercises for area firefighters between 2007 and 2009. In total, firefighters from 13 other communities participated in one or more phases of the training. The Fire Department Training Partnership program was conducted at little or no cost, since in-house staff was utilized and training venues were made available by local developers free of charge. These training exercises not only increased skill levels of the individual participants; they helped promote additional cooperation and partnerships among our mutual aid departments. This type of cooperation is critical during joint responses to real emergency situations.
Street Tree Assessment Team
Volunteers, Parks and Environment
The Street Tree Assessment Team (STAT) was created as a volunteer program in our Public Works Department in February 2010 to provide light maintenance to street trees that otherwise received no attention. The objectives of the program are to have healthier street trees; provide volunteer assistance to public works; provide citizens a way to be involved with street trees; and give members of the public a way to use proper tree maintenance skills. STAT involves staff members of public works and several city volunteer programs, as well as the citizen volunteers who are sharing their time on the project.
The Affordable Approach to Developing Connection Fees
Officials took the historical costs incurred by the City to provide capacity of potable water production, sanitary sewer treatment and electric energy delivery and inflated them to today’s costs using the construction cost index for the region. The costs in today’s dollars were then divided by the capacity they afforded in each of the respective utilities. The result was the cost per unit of capacity that could then be applied to the capacity demands of each type of new construction. The process also was flexible in that it allowed the elected officials to decide what percentage of cost the City wished to recover through the connection fees. The elected officials were able to decide on a cost recovery percentage of 45% with market position in mind. Historical costs will also be updated annually by the construction cost index, thereby making adjustments to the connection fee per unit simple and a-political. The simple and easy to understand approach made the adoption of these connection fees a welcome addition by the community.
Independence EcoFest Program
The annual Independence EcoFest involves citizens in the steps that they can take to improve their environment and quality of life. Participants identify specific actions through interactions with a variety of educational vendors. The event’s focus is on ones own interconnectedness with natural resources and how daily choices (energy use, landscaping, recycling, etc.) impact water, land and air quality. EcoFest offers a hands-on approach to draw connections between a variety of daily activities and the ongoing impact on local water sources and the environment. Local fifth grade students participate in a yearly t-shirt design competition. EcoFest visitors can complete a passport, by answering questions associated with each exhibitor’s theme, as they visit various booths throughout the festival. Participants completing the passport receive a free t-shirt. EcoFest allows families to become engaged with their environment at a level they are comfortable with and to create a community offering them the opportunity to interact with others who share their interest.
Historic Quinette Cemetary
Parks, Cemetaries, Historic Preservation
The city of Kirkwood completed the incorporation of historic Quinette Cemetery into the City’s park system, where it is maintained and overseen by the Kirkwood Park Board. Quinette Cemetery is considered the oldest African American burial ground west of the Mississippi River. Its renovation, restoration, and rededication as a park are the result of the combined efforts of the city of Kirkwood, its park board and landmarks commission, and a dedicated group of volunteers. The objectives for this project were three-fold: 1) Conservation, enhancement and maintenance of landscape features and markers.2) Design of appropriate entry and signage improvements.3) Operation of the cemetery as an historic site open to the public. The ongoing goal is to preserve the cemetery and save it from commercial development that could result in relocation and the possible loss of gravesites from this historic African-American cemetery.
The Jewell Neighorhood Action Plan and Handbook
Planning, Historic Preservation
In the fall of 2009, thanks to a $10,000 grant from the State Historic Preservation Office, the city of Liberty initiated a neighborhood planning project in order to better understand the needs of the historic Jewell neighborhood. The objectives of the project were to: guide city decisions regarding neighborhood improvements; encourage the formation of a neighborhood association; build community identity; and create a process that could be replicated in other neighborhoods and communities. Neighborhood residents participated in two public strategic planning meetings along with city staff, city councilmembers, the mayor, and the paid planning consultants. Results of those meetings were compiled into the Jewell Neighborhood Action Plan. To best address the specific concerns highlighted in the Action Plan, and to offer the residents the tools they need to improve their neighborhood, staff developed the Jewell Neighborhood Handbook. The Action Plan and Handbook are available to the public at www.ci.liberty.mo.us/Jewell.
Public Works Day
Festivals, Public Works
The city of St. Charles, in observation of National Public Works Week, celebrated its 7th Annual Public Works Day at Mueller Road Park on May 7, 2010. The purpose of St. Charles Public Works Day is to raise awareness of Public Works’ role in the local community, and the efforts of the thousands of men and women engaged in designing, constructing, and maintaining the nation’s roadways, sanitary and potable water facilities, and drainage infrastructure. The fun-filled day of festivities and educational activities included: Equipment on Parade, Decorate the Snowplow, Sanitary and Potable Water Exhibits, Red Light/Green Light, Rules of the Road Trike Course, Hot Dogs, “SnowPlow” Cones, and Balloons & Face Painting. The St. Charles Public Works Day was enjoyed by more than 400 attendees, including employees, elected officials, local families and school children. The program offers any municipality a special opportunity to share one-on-one with the community their enthusiasm for Public Works!
Community Nitrogen Tire Station
The St. Peters Nitrogen Tire Station is a community based energy efficiency outreach program whose objectives is to decrease gasoline usage, increase tire life, and decrease tire and rim maintenance costs for residents. The use of compressed nitrogen to replace compressed air in city vehicles was initiated in 2008 and completed in 2009 on a recommendation from the City’s fleet maintenance department. Early documentation of costs in 2010, indicated a fuel usage decrease and a decrease in tire replacement and maintenance costs for city vehicles. Expansion of this program to include community-wide residential vehicles, was made possible by a Department of Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant in 2009. The City’s Green Environmental Advisory Committee and a special blue ribbon city staff team prioritized potential program elements for the block grant and the nitrogen station was selected as one of the three total community based projects as achieving the most environmental benefit. The installation of the Nitrogen Tire Station was completed in conjunction with a new HES Operations Building, dedicated on Earth Day 2010. Currently 449 vehicles have completed the tire gas conversion.
Project "Restroom Resolution" was designed with the objective of providing clean, desirable, environmental friendly portable restrooms to be utilized for events in the revitalized downtown Trenton as well as other outdoor venues throughout the community. The base of the mobile restrooms is built on a recycled 30 ft pull behind camper trailer frame. It contains three separate stalls, one for men, women, and handicap assessable restrooms. The restrooms are lighted by solar powered fixtures and sky lights. They use minimal water as they are equipped with RV commodes and sinks. The floors and walls are constructed of highly durable material that can be hosed down during the cleaning process. It has a 60 gallon fresh water tank installed above the ceiling and the waste tank is mounted beneath the trailer. The waste can be self contained or hooked up to a direct sewer line. It also features baby changing stations in the stalls, as many of the events hosted are family oriented. The costs involved will be recovered by the rental of restrooms.
Recycling Incentives Program
Environmental, Solid Waste
Wentzville’s Recycling Incentives Program helps residents and employees go green at home and work while decreasing landfill disposal costs. In just two years, the community had nearly tripled the amount of waste that was recycled from 7 percent to 20 percent. The Recycling Incentives Program generates money for every pound of trash that gets recycled by residents and staff. This revenue goes right back into the community as prizes and funds local recycling initiatives. Each month homes that are randomly found to be recycling receives a recycling reward basket filled with local entertainment gift cards and eco-friendly products to make their home greener. On Earth Day and America Recycles Day a drawing is held for grand prizes: $1,500 in Energy Star products. What’s unique about the program is that it helps waste haulers, the City and residents to save money. It provides the means to start recycling at city facilities parks and at community events. Even better it is entirely funded by what people recycle – and the more people who recycle the more prizes the City can give!
Des Peres Lake Restoration Project
The Des Peres Lake Restoration Project was identified in the 2007 Des Peres Parks Master Plan. A partnership between Edward Jones and the City of Des Peres combined with a grant from the St. Louis County Municipal Park Grant Commission allowed for the lake restoration. The project is unique in its effort to incorporate state-of-the-art storm water practice with a focus on recreational use and nature interpretation. The project included lake dredging, construction of a fore-bay area to reduce sedimentation: a renovated lake edge incorporating aquatic plant life and boulders to help preserve and enhance the lake environment. A new boardwalk and bridge enhanced ADA access and created interpretive opportunities in keeping with the parks and recreation department’s goal of increasing nature activities. Replacement of the current rip-rap rock with aquatic plant life filter run off and improves water quality as well as significantly decreasing long term maintenance. The rip-rap and trees removed in construction were recycled to serve as a fish habitat.
Responsible Landlord Initiative
The Responsible Landlord Initiative is an innovative, performance-based approach to regulating residential rental property that emphasizes the use of code enforcement as a tool for neighborhood stabilization. The Initiative balanced the City's planning and regulatory efforts to increase more livable neighborhoods. The Initiative was created to hold landlords responsible for property maintenance and tenant conduct by establishing a three-tiered classification of the City's landlord license - Responsible, Provisional, and Suspended. Each classification sets different guidelines about how landlords can continue to do business with the City and provide quality living opportunities for our residents. The concept of the Initiative was developed out of a proposal from a neighborhood association to have the City conduct interior inspections of rental property. The City was not in a financial position to increase its inspection staff; therefore, City staff developed the Responsible Landlord Initiative to be consistent with the Neighborhood Agenda.
The Gerald Veteran's Memorial serves as a memorable site for travelers to visit whole traveling Hwy. 50. A committee of eight volunteers was formed with two from city government (Mayor and one alderman), two from the Park Board, two from the Citizens Committee and two from the Chamber of Commerce, to administer and oversee the project. Over 21 companies and businesses contributed to the project as well as 32 volunteers donating hundreds of hours of labor. The entire community was involved with this project either by lending a hand, helping with fund raisers, purchasing bricks, granite stones or some other item to provide funding for the completion of this project.
Baseball Franchise Initiative
This project involved the establishment of a Collegiate League Baseball franchise in Hannibal, a multi-year stadium lease between the city and baseball investors, a $4.2 million private investment to renovate the stadium, revenue bond financing to fund public improvements, relocation of the Parks Department and Street Department to permanent facilities, partnership with the local school district to co-locate little league fields on school grounds – accommodating the baseball franchise and local YMCA, a permanent home for National Tom Sawyer Days, and revitalization of the street corridor where these facilities lie. The initial objective was to secure the baseball franchise, while minimizing public funds for necessary improvements. In the end, a new and exciting investment resulted in a baseball franchise in Hannibal, two city departments obtained upgraded permanent facilities, a partnership with the school district allowed co-location of little league fields on school grounds, creative financing funded the public investment, and a significant revitalization of the main corridor occurred.
Single Family Cost of Living Survey
Staff from the City of Harrisonville conducted a single family cost of living survey among 50 cities in the Kansas City metro area. City officials had received testimony from residents concerning the high cost of living in Harrisonville compared to surrounding cities, and they wanted to compare all relevant costs in an accurate manner. Communication Information Specialist Sheryl Stanley coordinated the data gathering for the survey. All cities want to know where they rank compared to their neighbors on subjects such as property taxes, utilities, etc. Comparing taxes and fees are the most basic from of performance measurement. The information was shared with all cities included in the survey. Since the spreadsheet is built upon a consistent set of assumptions and formulas, interested cities can update whenever needed, just as Harrisonville will. The survey is also designed so that assumptions may be changed, and the results under the different scenarios compared.