Kent had a chance to celebrate the spirit of Earth Day a little early this year, hosting the Greentown Kent sustainability conference last week at the KSU hotel and conference center.
Greentown has developed a name for itself as a roving band of environmentally minded stewards that give like-minded individuals a chance to gather, share stories, and inspire each other. That’s exactly what happened last week in downtown Kent.
The Greentown conference turned out to be a great way to bring together some of the leading community, government and business practitioners of sustainability from around the mid-West.
Not surprisingly Kent’s own Davey Tree featured prominently as a great example where preserving natural resources and practicing sustainability has evolved into a business plan that has made them an industry leader.
Representatives from Cleveland, Detroit, South Bend, Akron, Oberlin, and others spent 2 days with us to share best practices, leading edge thinking, and practical examples for how to ensure sustainability continues to be a part of our respective communities.
Since Kent was featured each day, it was a good time to reflect on what we’ve accomplished but also to re-energize our thinking about how we continue to move forward. We have plenty of examples where we have implemented policies and programs that other cities are looking to model but we also saw plenty of opportunities to do more in Kent.
It’s great to have events like this in our backyard and I hope we can bring back more. With 10 years, and a growing list of accomplishments under our community’s belt, there’s been a growing interest in revisiting the City’s sustainability goals contained in the Bicentennial Plan. I’m hoping that we can use the energy coming out of this conference as spring board to give City Council and the community a chance to review and update those goals to better reflect the community’s current aspirations.
In the meantime, here’s a short video clip that the Record Courier took from the Greentown Conference that gives you a flavor for the Greentwon event and the credentials of the speakers.
Unfortunately for me, I was stuck inside giving a talk about downtown Kent’s revitalization when the “Bike and Brainstorm” portion of the program (complements of AMATS) got underway. This was Kent’s second Bike and Brainstorm event where local bicyclists of all persuasions were invited to do a ride around town and give their feedback about how to make Kent more bike-able to cyclists of all skill levels and types of bikes. They had a great turnout and here’s a sampling of the photo’s from that bike tour.