Mayor Steve Luecke delivered his State of the City address at the College Football Hall of Fame tonight.  I was particularly interested in hearing about his plans to embrace sustainability as a means to attract investment and new residents as well as to move South Bend forward.  South Bend cannot realize this administration’s dream of becoming a “21st Century City” unless green initiatives become second nature in development. 

Mayor Luecke touted the city’s commitment to address reducing raw sewage and street runoff from entering the St Joe River, (although this is in response to requirements by the EPA for South Bend to reduce effluence into the river).  He also lauded the city’s support for bike lanes and the river walk.  These are commendable projects to support a livable, sustainable community.  Mayor Luecke noted the city’s switch from incandescent traffic lights to more energy-efficient LED lights, which would save the city money in energy costs.  There were also brief mentions of a rooftop garden on a proposed addition to the old bank building across from the Marriott and working to coordinate city fleets to be more efficient.

 Listening to Mayor Luecke speak to representatives from the Sierra Club afterwards, it seems promising that he may sign on to the Cool Cities initiative in the near future.  City Engineer Gary Gilot cited concerns about the expense the city may incur to try to incorporate green initiatives.  However progressives need to impress upon this administration that green initiatives will save the city money (solar panels on the new parking garage going up at Eddy Street Commons can generate electricity, LEED-standard buildings save energy, etc) and encourage people to move to a truly “21st Century City”.

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