Turning Youngstown, Ohio into a model Green City

Global Green USA, U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio and Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams have teamed up to turn Youngstown green. This innovative partnership will initiate a climate and neighborhood sustainability action plan to create green jobs and sustainable development in the city.

By building on the successful Youngstown 2010 planning process and implementing a citywide and neighborhood-specific ‘greening’ plan, Youngstown can become a model ‘green’ city for the rest of the Midwest. The goals of this initiative include generating resources and national participation in a design competition for envisioning the future of one of Youngstown’s neighborhoods.
“We not only need binding emission reductions legislation and an aggressive climate agreement – we also need to create a model that demonstrates the ‘greener’ future that is possible for post-industrial cities that also shrinks carbon footprints,” said Global Green CEO and President Matt Petersen. “By working with Congressman Ryan and Mayor Williams, we will seek to make quick progress on our goals to ‘green’ Youngstown while serving as a model for other Rust Belt cities.”
As the effects of climate change become increasingly evident, the need to quickly move from conceptualizing climate-friendly sustainable cities to creating them is immense. For the past 15 years, nonprofit Global Green USA has worked with over 20 cities and public agencies – including the green rebuilding of New Orleans – to help stem global climate change by encouraging the creation of green buildings, cities, and neighborhoods.
“I am excited to welcome Global Green to our community. Given their solid track record of leadership and practical results, we are partnering with Global Green to lead a green economic renaissance and to help create a sustainable future for Youngstown,” stated Congressman Ryan. “Manufacturing is our legacy; green manufacturing is our opportunity to pull ourselves out of this 30-year economic stalemate.”
Launching the Youngstown project represents the next phase in Global Green’s Sustainable City and Climate Action Initiative, which aims to reduce energy use and increase sustainability in cities and neighborhoods. As part of this programme, Global Green USA will create a model sustainable city that highlights the transformational role that cities can play in mitigating climate change – and adapting to the impending impacts of that change – while creating an inspirational model for the Rust Belt and other post-industrial regions in the U.S. and around the world.
Mayor Williams stated, “We look forward to working with Congressman Ryan and Global Green as we continue the implementation of Youngstown’s 2010 Plan. By investing in the creation of a sustainable future for our community, we will be able to increase our efforts to implement the concept of a ‘shrinking city’ while supporting the U.S. Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement.”
The goals of Global Green’s Youngstown project are to:
  • Create a Climate Action and Sustainable City Plan, beginning with the implementation of key aspects of the U.S. Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement and strategies that build on the Youngstown 2010 plan, all which can be implemented in the near- to mid-term to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet sustainability goals;
  • Create a Neighborhood-Specific Plan for one neighborhood on Youngstown’s south side that currently suffers from devastating levels of blight, with many blocks left virtually empty;
  • Generate provocative and creative ideas through a design competition that will bring national attention and resources to the project, along with actionable contributions (i.e., planning, design and policy) for the neighborhood specific planning and design;
  • Establish measurable indicators of progress, documenting model policies and best practices that will be shared with regional and national decision makers;
  • Leverage existing investments and secure firm commitments from local and regional funders, as well as a congressional appropriation, to fund capital costs associated with citywide and neighborhood-specific plan implementation; and
  • Create a regional framework of ideas and next steps that will identify how the ‘greening’ of Youngstown can influence the ‘greening’ of the Rust Belt, and more immediately, be a key factor in the greening of the Pittsburgh-Cleveland Tech Belt corridor.
Former Youngstown resident and Applied Systems and Technology Transfer (AST2) president Jack Scott has already invested $25,000 into the project; a figure which has been matched locally by the Raymond John Wean Foundation. Foundation president Joel Ratner states that “We are looking forward to a productive partnership between Global Green, Congressman Tim Ryan, and the City of Youngstown that will result in increased opportunities for green jobs and technology and a more sustainable future for Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley.”

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