Spotlight On: The City of Alton

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As a returning participant of the St. Louis Green Cities Challenge in 2021, the City of Alton remained committed to sustainable practices and programs that improve the health and quality of life of its community, making it a great place for individuals to live, work and play.

Founded in 1837 and located just 25 miles north of St. Louis, the City of Alton is full of historic charm, recreational opportunities, and business prospects. During the 2021 Challenge, Alton and other participating municipalities addressed sustainability within the range of operational requirements unique to their local governments, incorporated a sustainability policy and practiced fundamentals, including addressing measures defined by OneSTL, the regional plan for sustainable development.

Leading these initiatives is the Alton Cool City Committee, which strives to create a greener community now and for the future. “The biggest challenges we face – climate change and increasing gaps of income inequality – are inescapably hitched together,” said Greg Caffey Director of Planning & Development for the City of Alton. “We live in complex, challenging times. With every tree planted and each street redesigned to be pedestrian and bike friendly, with each new solar installation and restoration of a historic building, and with every public meeting attended to address racism, sexism, or sustainability we contribute to a community strong with nature’s vitality and healthy neighborhoods for all people.”

Among the city’s impressive accomplishments to receive recognition in the Challenge was the submission of an Illinois Solar For All (ILSFA) Environmental Justice Community Self-Designation application, which aims to bring solar power to areas that will benefit most from access to natural energy. This focus is based on the principle that all people should be protected from pollution and that all populations have a right to a clean and healthy environment. The city also executed an option agreement with Ameresco, Inc., a renewable energy and energy efficiency company, for the development of a solar farm at the former Alby Street landfill. Furthermore, the City of Alton worked to maintain a partnership with EPA Green Power Communities, which encourages large corporations; small and medium-sized businesses; local, state, and federal governments; non-profit institutions; and colleges and universities to use green power voluntarily to protect human health and the environment.

Additional green improvements were made in the community with the construction of the Alton Splash Pad Park that features nature-inspired play areas and interpretive displays about the Mississippi River and the importance of water stewardship. The City of Alton also amended its refuse collection agreement with Republic Services to increase the usage of recycling bins, volume pickup, and year-round recycling collection services, which helps to reduce the amount of waste that winds up in landfills and eliminates the production of harmful methane gases that pollute the air.

For additional information on the sustainable efforts underway by the City of Alton and how your municipality can get involved in the Challenge, subscribe to the bi-monthly E-Newsletter or visit Registration for the 2022 Challenge is also open now. To learn more about the link between sustainability and air quality, explore the Clean Air Partnership website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.