August 1, 2016

Newly adopted plan sets stage for next phase of the City’s sustainability planning

As reported in the City’s recently compiled climate resiliency report, the next 20 years will bring significant changes to the Grand Rapids area. And, while the climate changes will bring with them many challenges and opportunities, the City of Grand Rapids is poised to address potential issues or crises that arise.

As reported in the City’s recently compiled climate resiliency report, the next 20 years will bring significant changes to the Grand Rapids area. And, while the climate changes will bring with them many challenges and opportunities, the City of Grand Rapids is poised to address potential issues or crises that arise.

The Grand Rapids City Commission recently unanimously adopted the FY2017 - FY2021 Sustainability Plan. According to Haris Alibašić, the City’s energy and sustainability manager, the report outlines Grand Rapids’ evolving sustainability priorities, guiding principles, key objectives and strategies. He said the goals and targets outlined in the Sustainability Plan will “prepare the City to respond to future challenges and opportunities in a viable and coordinated manner.”

Alibašić said the new Sustainability Plan expands on the previous FY2011 - FY2015 Sustainability Plan’s Triple Bottom Line (TBL) framework into a Quadruple Bottom Line (QBL) structure. It also draws from the City’s Transformation Investment Plan (TIP) and aligns with its Goals, Outcomes, and Themes. The Quadruple Bottom Line provides the overarching pillars of this plan:  Economic, Social, Environmental, and Governance. The specific ten themes of this plan are housed under one of the four QBL pillars and specific targets are categorized under separate goals and outcomes, directly connected to the City’s Transformation Investment Plan:

•           Economic Opportunity

•           Great Neighborhoods

•           Social Equity

•           Safe Community

•           Resilient Systems

•           Balanced Transportation

•           Sustainable Assets

•           Fiscally Resilient

•           Transparent and Accessible

•           Good Government

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss lauded the latest report that was developed through the input of City management and the City Commission. She expects the sustainability targets to be embraced and implemented by staff.

“Accountability is essential to making Grand Rapids more sustainable,” Bliss said. “Organizations, citizens, institutions and businesses recognize that the decisions they make have an impact on the overall resilience and sustainability of our community. Likewise, City staff from various departments understand they must also be accountable and serve as target champions, responsible for leading and achieving specific sustainability targets outlined in this plan. This approach calls for individual accountability and ownership for each target and its effectiveness.”

City Manager Greg Sundstrom said that in the years to come, the City will continue to focus on increased governance, operational efficiency, affordable housing opportunities, diversity and inclusiveness, decreased energy consumption, community outreach efforts and improving custom self-service online options.

“The City, alone, cannot implement all of the strategies outlined in this plan,” Sundstrom said. “The City of Grand Rapids is committed to leading by example and is open to partnering with interested parties to work on various elements of the Sustainability Plan. This engagement and city-wide participation in implementing the plan will make the community more sustainable and resilient.”

To view the FY2017 - FY2021 Sustainability Plan, please visit: sustainablegr.org.