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Tampa chosen for climate change and resiliency grant program

The program offers cities access to resources to combat climate change.

The city of Tampa was one of 20 cities chosen this week for a grant program aimed at accelerating progress on climate change, resiliency and social equity planning.

The U.S. Green Building Council, which created the LEED green building rating system, selected Tampa for its 2020 LEED for Cities and Communities Grant program.

Cities and counties participating in the 2020 program receive access to education resources and technical support as they pursue LEED certification.

“Sustainability and resilience are core tenets of our administration’s focus,” Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said. “The 2020 LEED for Cities and Communities Grant will allow us to more strategically and equitably plan for the effects of climate change while remaining laser focused on deliverables that will ensure future generations can continue to enjoy our great city.”

The program provides select cities with a framework for implementing strategies for energy, water, waste, pollution and carbon. The framework also takes into consideration social and economic indicators like health, equity, education and prosperity.

The program provides performance bench marks and establishes a peer network to share ideas. The program also aims to increase communication and education stakeholders on progress.

More than 100 cities and communities throughout the world have already participated in the program and achieved LEED certification.

“Local governments see the on-the-ground effects of a changing climate and how it impacts people, businesses and communities. They also understand that taking action can lead to a stronger economy and better quality of life for their residents,” said U.S. Green Buildings Council CEO Mahesh Ramanujam.

Climate change and resiliency are one of Castor’s top five “Transforming Tampa’s Tomorrow” areas of focus. The city last year launched its PIPES program, which stands for Progressive Infrastructure Plan to Ensure Sustainability. It’s the city’s largest ever infrastructure project and part of Castor’s commitment to increasing resiliency and mitigating the effects of climate change.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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