Greening of Greencastle the envy of Indiana cities
The continued greening of Greencastle has not been lost on State of Indiana officials.
That's why two of them were on hand on a cold, rainy Saturday morning -- Earth Day, wouldn't you know -- to honor the City of Greencastle as a Green Legacy Community.
The city is now one of 20 Hoosier communities so recognized by the Indiana Bicentennial Commission and Sustainable Indiana 2016.
Representing the Indiana Bicentennial Commission and the 200-year celebration of Indiana's statehood in 2016, Deputy Director E. Rene Stanley addressed a small but engaged audience relishing the warmth of Bagos on the east side of the courthouse square as opening day at the Greencastle Farmers' Market unfolded in the wind, rain and cold outside.
"Be proud today of your accomplishments," Stanley said, "but keep an eye to the future and be vigilant for new ways to continue the greening of Greencastle."
As emissary for Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, she told the group the purpose of the Bicentennial Commission is to "be a catalyst for Hoosiers to become involved in local celebrations" that they might spearhead projects "to leave a lasting legacy from our celebrations for the citizens of Indiana."
"What better legacy can we leave for those who follow in our footsteps," Stanley suggested, "than a cleaner, more sustainable, healthier community in which to live, work and raise a family?"
The Indiana Bicentennial effort emphasizes four major themes, she noted -- nature and conservation, youth and education, historical celebration and community involvement.
"As your community volunteers continue their involvement to make this city a greener place, you will create a history worth celebrating in the tercentennial," Stanley added.
Greencastle and the other 19 cities and towns being honored as Green Legacy Communities stand out as role models, said John Gibson, state coordinator for Earth Charter Indiana's bicentennial initiative, Sustainable Indiana 2016.
Those communities "demonstrate a mix of green initiative" that make them leaders going into the future with challenges ahead in both climate and economic areas, Gibson suggested.
"It's not just about looking back," he said, "but looking ahead for hopefully another 200 years."
Greencastle, he told the audience, has won the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns (IACT) Green Community Award more than any other city or town in Indiana, along with being designated a Tree City USA for 16 years.
"There's substance behind these awards, there's hard work," Gibson assured.
Yet the City of Greencastle has an achievement record that leaves other communities green with envy.
"It's quite phenomenal," Gibson said, indicating the IACT award has 47 issues and questions it addresses, from energy efficiency to taking care of waste to providing bicycle paths and planting trees.
The Tree City designation "is not easy either," he said, noting that in order to qualify, the city must plant two trees or every one it takes down or loses to storms or disease.
Also referring to the recent Clean Community Designation bestowed upon Greencastle by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Gibson praised the city administration and Mayor Sue Murray in particular.
"Mayor Murray," he said, "is one of the most progressive, hard-working mayors in Indiana, and I can say that without qualm."
Gibson listed such city accomplishments as the change to more efficient downtown lighting, development of community trails, expansion of the farmers' market, creation of a community garden, implementation of a no-idle policy for city vehicles, the repurposing of old buildings, continuation of curbside recycling and the creation of the DePauw University move-out day donation program.