On Wednesday, April 21, Vice-President Joe Biden announced a $20 million grant that is expected to help many homeowners and business owners manage energy costs, in the Green Impact Zone and several other Kansas City neighborhoods. The grant funds will come from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program, which is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The grant will support EnergyWorks KC, a partnership between the city of Kansas City, Mo.; the Metropolitan Energy Center; the Mid-America Regional Council; Kansas City Power & Light; and Missouri Gas Energy. Metropolitan Energy Center will serve as the single point of contact for building owners and contractors who want to access or provide services through EnergyWorks KC.

Building on innovative work already underway in Kansas City, including the Green Impact Zone initiative and KCP&L’s Smart Grid demonstration project, EnergyWorks KC will focus on energy efficiency in homes and businesses over the next two years. By conducting energy audits and retrofitting existing buildings — for example, with energy-efficient furnaces, heat pumps, doors and windows — EnergyWorks KC can help building owners substantially reduce energy use and utility costs. The project is also designed to create jobs, by hiring and training people to do the audit and retrofit work.

For more information, see the city of Kansas City’s news release and the Department of Energy’s web story.  And be sure to watch our blog for more details about the program in the coming weeks.

The 2010 Census will help communities receive more than $400 billion in federal funds each year for things like:

  • Hospitals
  • Job training centers
  • Schools
  • Senior centers
  • Bridges, tunnels and other public works projects
  • Emergency services

All of these services are vital to our communities.

Track the participation rate for your state, county and even your neighborhood on the 2010 Census Web site.

The Green Impact Zone encompasses five neighborhoods – Ivanhoe, Blue Hills, Manheim, Troostwood and Town Fork Creek. We work closely with the neighborhood organizations in each of these communities. These neighborhood organizations are one of the great strengths of the Green Impact Zone, and by improving their capacity to bring about positive change we can help make all of our neighborhoods stronger.

Each neighborhood has received capacity building funds. The neighborhood leaders have worked together to determine how to divide the funds amongst the neighborhoods. Now it’s time for each neighborhood to come up with a plan for how they would use the money.  It has been interesting to hear of all of the different ideas – from funding activities that bring people together to improving communications and more.

What would you do? If you were given seed money to build your neighborhood’s capacity and develop sustainable initiatives, what kinds of projects would you recommend?

TIGER Funding Announcement

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood signs a $50 million check for TIGER funding

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood visited Kansas City Wednesday to announce $1.5 billion in TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grants across the nation — including $50 million for the Kansas City region, with a portion going to projects in the Green Impact Zone.

The grants are funded by federal stimulus dollars as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. MARC coordinated a regional grant application for the TIGER funds. Partners included the city of Kansas City, Mo.; Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas; the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority; and others.

See more photos from Wednesday’s press conference»

Read the press release from MARC»