116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — A new city program aims to show Cedar Rapids residents they need not leave their neighborhood to take climate action.
The city of Cedar Rapids recently launched an early version of its Sustainable Neighborhoods program to encourage residents to log their sustainability actions and future commitments.
The Community Climate Action Plan adopted in September calls for the program’s creation to help build community and foster engagement at the neighborhood level, strengthen residents’ focus on sustainability achievements and eventually create a community culture that promotes sustainability.
Any Cedar Rapids homeowner or renter can participate in this initiative. An interactive dashboard on the city’s website tracks neighborhood participation, sustainability actions and commitments. This feature is available at cedar-rapids.org/sustainability under the Community Climate Action Plan tab.
You can ride your bike, keep bees, raise urban chickens, shop secondhand, plant a tree, grow fruit or vegetables in a community garden, use LED light bulbs or improve insulation around your windows.
To log all your activity with the city, click the link to the Sustainable Neighborhoods page, then press “Join the Program” and fill out the survey. Educational resources also are available on this page to provide residents with information on how to take some of the aforementioned sustainability steps.
City staff will give quarterly updates to neighborhood associations to share community progress and encourage participation, according to a recent city manager memo to the Cedar Rapids City Council. Timely educational materials will be given to help citizens take relevant sustainability actions — for instance, information on home energy and heat conservation in the winter.
Need help to cover the costs of heating or weatherizing your home? Apply for assistance through HACAP at hacap.org/energyconservation
Eventually, staff will develop a recognition program to highlight residents and neighborhoods making significant progress within the program, according to the memo.
After months of drafting the Community Climate Action Plan, City Sustainability Coordinator Eric Holthaus said this program is a way to maintain momentum surrounding climate action and recognize residents’ efforts.
“We want to build excitement from neighborhood to neighborhood on — what does this neighborhood do well, how about that neighborhood, actively have some friendly competitions as time goes on to keep raising the bar,” Holthaus said.
Staff also are working in the coming years to develop a Sustainable Businesses program to promote sustainable Building practices such as energy efficiency, electrification and waste reduction as well as land-use practices, including planting trees and using green infrastructure.
In the meantime, city staff are accepting and reviewing nominations of Community Leaders to recognize the efforts of organizations around Cedar Rapids to go green.
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