City’s green efforts not as easy as flipping a switch

PHILADELPHIA. Going green is high on the mantle of things to do for Mayor Michael Nutter’s administration as he often says he wants “Philadelphia to be the greenest city in America.”

While progress was made in the first year of the city’s five-year Greenworks initiative, going green has proven tougher than talking green.

Nutter and other officials yesterday touted the city’s fast rise in its recycling rates by residents and businesses as well as the creation of 520 jobs in the emerging green sector. But that’s a bit off a goal set in Greenworks, which hopes to double the number of local green jobs from about 14,000 to 28,000 by 2014.

“It’s not a huge number but when you look at a year when there was job loss overall, it can be considered very important,” Nutter’s Office of Sustainability chief Katherine Gajewski said.

Another obstacle lacking tangible results, but that Gajewski and Fairmount Park executive director Mark Focht promises that progress has been made in, is the goal of protecting an additional 500 acres of open space in underserved neighborhoods.

Focht said lots of planning has been done in year one and a series of public meetings over the next three weeks will become the foundation for the new green space in the next four years.

“This won’t all be parkland. Some of it will be new trails or stormwater management areas that will be open space and accessible to the public,” Focht said. “Not all this green space will be traditional parks.”

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