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Growing Green - A Capital Idea

EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe tells us about the Greening America's Capitals program to help America's capital cities turn their visions of a more prosperous future into reality
Main Street Redesign_Little Rock

A redesign option for Main Street in Little Rock that incorporates rain gardens and improved crosswalks. (Courtesy the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) August 29, 2011. (by Environmental Protection Agency)

Over the last year, federal, state and city workers in Little Rock, Arkansas, have been working with residents and businesses to develop design ideas that turn vacant lots into pocket parks, line streets with mini gardens, and expand an existing trolley line. Along with making the city a healthier place to live and work by cutting back pollution and capturing stormwater, these green changes also bring the potential to attract new businesses and new jobs to the area, all while facilitating new and better housing and transportation choices for families.

Little Rock looks forward to the day when a bustling Main Street will connect to the newly-revitalized River Market District – which after years of decay now boasts new parks, businesses, homes and museums, thanks to public and private investments and smart design concepts now being replicated throughout the city.

EPA has been part of Little Rock’s progress through our Greening America’s Capitals program, an effort to help America's capital cities turn their visions of a more prosperous future into reality. Across America, EPA is partnering with communities to not only improve our health and the health of our environment, but also to create places where businesses want to invest and families want to live and grow.

This month we announced five additional partner communities participating in the Greening America’s Capitals program: Montgomery, Alabama; Phoenix, Arizona; Washington, DC; Jackson, Mississippi; and Lincoln, Nebraska. These capital cities join Little Rock and a host of other cities throughout the nation in our work to create jobs, enhance the quality of life for residents and use public investments wisely through sustainable design and green development. 

Greening America’s Capitals is just one of the many actions we’re taking through our Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a collaboration with the Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Transportation. This partnership recognizes that our communities benefit when we work together to align our transportation investments with our affordable housing investments and our environmental protection efforts. This smart approach to growth makes it easier for residents to live closer to jobs, schools and recreation, saving households time and money in transportation costs while reducing pollution and making cities more economically and environmentally sustainable.

Bob Perciasepe is the Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency