Valparaiso residents have another reason to be proud of their community as their city government has achieved “CLEAN” status and is embarking on a new, positive environmental initiative through the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s (IDEM’s) CLEAN Community Challenge.
The CLEAN (Comprehensive Local Environmental Action Network) Community Challenge is a voluntary recognition program for units of local Indiana government that make significant commitments to environmental management. IDEM Commissioner Thomas Easterly presented a plaque and commemorative road sign to Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas during a CLEAN designation ceremony held at City Hall on April 13th.
“Valparaiso is a shining example for other communities through its commitment to increase recycling, improve educational outreach efforts and implement water conservation measures,” said Commissioner Easterly. “I applaud the entire Valparaiso community for its good work in protecting Hoosiers and our environment.”
CLEAN helps communities take steps to plan, develop, and implement a Quality of Life Plan, which focuses on reducing the potential environmental impacts associated with municipal operations. As part of the CLEAN challenge, Valparaiso has committed to achieving several environmental goals over the next three years. These include: working to increase municipal solid waste diversion to 70 percent while increasing residential and business recycling participation to 75 percent; recycling 100 percent of municipally-generated fluorescent and mercury containing light bulbs; holding workshops to educate residents on rain barrels and rain gardens; constructing a rain garden on city property; and implementing five water conservation measures.
“I am very excited about the opportunity presented to Valparaiso through its participation in the CLEAN Community Challenge,” said Mayor Costas. “By meeting the CLEAN Community Challenge, Valparaiso is positioning itself to further improve our quality of life with an increased public awareness of environmental issues. Through a partnership between the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the City of Valparaiso, our residents will enjoy a healthier and cleaner community.”
The Indiana CLEAN Community Challenge is administered by IDEM in partnership with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the Indiana Finance Authority. Partner agencies provide financial incentives to Indiana CLEAN Community members, such as better terms and improved opportunities for state grant and loan dollars.
Learn more about the Indiana CLEAN Community Challenge at www.cleancommunities.IN.gov.