Dearborn earns gold medal in Michigan Green Communities Challenge

DEARBORN – The city was awarded a gold designation, the highest level, in the Michigan Green Communities Challenge, a statewide clean energy and environmental leadership initiative.

More than 20 communities were recognized for their sustainability efforts, but only three received gold medals: Dearborn, Ann Arbor and Delhi Charter Township.

Dearborn’s participation in Wayne County’s Property Assessed Clean Energy program, as well as its establishment of a facilities fund to finance energy projects, earned the city a gold medal. Dearborn’s energy program allows residents to enhance their property’s energy efficiency and finance it through property taxes.

“I’m very proud that under Mayor John B. O’Reilly’s leadership, Dearborn achieved this distinction,” said Dave Norwood, the city’s sustainability coordinator.

Norwood is also co-chairman of the Michigan Green Communities steering committee.

“We were really excited to re-launch the Green Communities Challenge this year with some new incentives and with the support of the C.S. Mott Foundation,” Norwood said.

“The response was fantastic and the communities being honored have a lot to be proud of,” Norwood said.

The challenge was launched in 2009 by the Michigan Green Communities Network, a partnership of the Michigan Municipal League, the Michigan Association of Counties and the Michigan Townships Association. The goal of the challenge is to connect community leaders through training, education and communications.

Four communities received silver medals, nine received bronze and six received honorable mentions for sustainability efforts ranging from hazardous waste collection and tire recycling to LED streetlight conversions.

“We’re impressed with the innovative sustainability work and projects happening in Michigan’s communities,” Norwood said.

The challenge is set to continue annually, with the next round expected to open in early 2017.