Grand Rapids Mayor George K. Heartwell was announced today as the nation’s top winner in the large city category in the 2012 Mayors’ Climate Protection Awards, an initiative sponsored by The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and Walmart.
Winning First Place means the City of Grand Rapids will receive $25,000, sponsored by Walmart, to pass-through to non-profit organizations in the city working on sustainability and climate protection issues. Friends of Grand Rapids Parks will receive half of the award for urban tree planting, with the other half being awarded to WMEAC for community resilience projects.
The winners were announced today during the Mayors’ Climate Protection Awards luncheon, which was held in conjunction with USCM’s 80th annual meeting. The annual awards program is in its sixth year and recognizes mayors for innovative practices in their cities that increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. An independent panel of judges selected the winners from a pool of more than 100 applicants.
The winning communities were praised for their commitment to sustainability planning and local climate protection efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “We are proud to receive this national recognition from the US Conference of Mayors,” said Mayor Heartwell, “Our goal is to continue to work on creating an equitable community with economic opportunities for all and protecting the environment for current and future generations.”
Haris Alibašić, Director of the City’s Office of Energy and Sustainability, accepted the award on behalf of Mayor Heartwell who was unable to attend due to another commitment. He stated, “This award is another affirmation of our great community-wide commitment to sustainability. Once again Grand Rapids has been recognized for its leadership in sustainability and for its commitment to environmental, economic, and social stewardship.”
“Mayor Heartwell and Mayor Doyle have done an outstanding job developing climate protection programs that will serve as models for the rest of the country,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. “These awards prove that cities large and small are making extra efforts to launch innovative programs to protect our environment.”