News: Green Burb

Wyoming makes environmental goals official

Wyoming is poising itself to become one of Greater Cincinnati's "greenest" areas.

In August the city adopted its 2007 Master Plan, a document that is recreated every 10 years. This year it includes as a goal "ecological stewardship and sustainability," with environmentally friendly "green" initiatives.

Proposals include preserving existing green spaces, areas that house natural, undisturbed ecosystems; protecting water quality; promoting green activity and public education.

"We need to do what is best for our community and for the broader community as well," says Terry Vanderman, development director for Wyoming. "Hopefully, if we're successful in what we do, others will embrace that as well."

Wyoming has already embarked upon several forms of preservation. Wyoming residents recycle the highest percentage of solid waste in Hamilton County, according to the city ( Rain barrels, devices that collect and reuse rainwater, can also be seen in the yards of many residents.

Attorney Phyllis Bossin, a member of the city's planning commission and Master Planning Committee, has such a device.

"I think people are very aware of the issues surrounding trying to be good stewards of the environment in our community," she says. "It was an important piece of the plan."

Bossin believes the use of simple measures to foster green initiatives, such as continuing to encourage recycling, rain barrels and educational classes, are some of the "many things we can do as a community to reduce our footprint."

Putting green initiatives in the master plan was the result of community participation. The city received more than 700 public opinion surveys from residents, representing a "broad brush" of community opinion, according to Vanderman.

Those who didn't participate in the survey were approached in different ways.

"We didn't get as much input from the very young population," Vanderman says.

Instead, the city held a special focus group made up of volunteer high school students. Like the broader community, students were asked for feedback.

"The initiatives started to come out in the focus group discussions," Vanderman says. "As the dialogue evolved, those that participated in the focus groups were very interested in (green projects.)"

Gary Meisner of Meisner and Associates, a planning and landscaping firm, was the consultant for the city's master plan.

"I think there are communities around the state that are looking at these sorts of programs," Meisner said, "We want this to be a primary framework for the future of this city, not just one of the things on the list."

He believes green projects will reinforce the livability of Wyoming.

"It's refreshing to see those early aspirations to change the world are a little more of a reality today," Meisner says. "I don't think there are many communities (in Ohio) that are taking it as far as they are."

However, the master plan is ultimately just a decision to start on the path toward a green future.

"We've got the plan adopted, and now it's a matter of figuring out where we want to go with it," Vanderman says. ©

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