City receives regional grant to create renewable energy

SOUTHGATE – The city has received a $50,000 grant to help create a sustainable renewable energy program.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment awarded the grant June 16 to assist the city in focusing on three primary goals: testing and modeling a Greenhouse Gas reduction planning strategy; engaging a broad, diverse citizenry in reducing the city’s collective carbon footprint; and allowing for the development of a local climate action plan with strategies for transportation, buildings and renewable energy and government operations.

The DNRE took into account the city’s recent success with other alternative energy grant projects and what city officials call “unmatched leadership in the area of sound regionalism,” including the solar energy system atop the Southgate Veterans Memorial Library, the first of its kind in the state. The city also recently was awarded nearly $100,000 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act aimed at increasing energy efficiency at the Southgate municipal complex.

The grant will be administered with the assistance of the Millennial Mayors Congress and the Michigan Suburbs Alliance. The Millennial Mayors Congress is a cooperative group comprising elected officials and residents of 21 communities across southeastern Michigan.

Southgate is represented by City Administrator Brandon Fournier, who serves on the Executive Committee, and city residents Neil Cameron and Julie Seifert. Sharon Carney, executive director of the Millennial Mayors Congress, said “Southgate is a natural fit for this type of project” when considering its commitment to alternative energy and regionalism, and that no other city has been as cutting edge.

The Michigan Suburbs Alliance is an organization of metropolitan Detroit suburbs focusing on regional issues such as energy consumption, redevelopment and other issues from a regional perspective. Mayor Joseph Kuspa recently was elected to its Board of Directors.

“I am committed to implementing environmentally friendly sustainable solutions for the residents of Southgate, and the most effective way is through continued regional cooperation,” he said.

Alliance Executive Director Conan Smith said, “Southgate was a founding member of the Michigan Suburbs Alliance, and their involvement has only continued to grow over the years.”