Sustainable Fernandina transitions to citizens-based group

Submitted by

Suanne Z. Thamm,  Reporter News Analyst

Sustainable Fernandina

City planner Adrienne Burke updated the Fernandina Beach City Commission at the October 16, 2012 regular meeting on the status of Sustainable Fernandina.

The sustainability initiative originated as a University of Florida Natural Resources Leadership Institute Practicum Project in 2010.  Sustainable Fernandina’s mission has been to discover and promote ways to conserve resources, reduce energy costs, decrease waste, protect and strengthen the local economy and save money throughout the city’s governmental operations.  What started in 2010 as a Fernandina Beach employee group to identify sustainability goals and strategies that the city could implement on a year-to-year basis has recently become a citizen-based organization with city participation.

With the downsizing of city staff, continued participation of city staff became increasingly difficult.  In June 2012, the group presented two options to City Manager Joe Gerrity:  remain a city-organized group, but only meet quarterly; or shift to a citizen-based organization with city participation.  In consultation with staff, Gerrity opted to transition to a citizen organization, which will have more flexibility in meeting locations and times as well as use of social media not available at the city level.  The city will still continue with sustainable efforts identified that both help the environment and save the city money.

Sustainable Fernandina has many notable accomplishments with respect to recycling, phasing out energy- and resource-inefficient lighting and plumbing within city facilities.  They saved the city $10,000 alone in transitioning the city commission and the various boards from paper to electronic packets.  Additionally, they participated in several community events and activities, such as the Adopt-A-Shore from the Pogy Plant to Fort Clinch and the Wild Amelia Expos in 2011 and 2012.

Len Kreger is currently coordinating efforts to organize the new group, which retains the name Sustainable Fernandina.  Kreger served as citizen chair of the earlier group.  Other members of that first group included Vice-Chair John Mandrick (City Utilities), City Commissioner Charlie Corbett, city staffers Kelly Gibson, Jeremiah Glisson, Robert Kozakoff and citizen Judith Lane.  Adrienne Burke has served as the staff facilitator.

The first meeting of the citizen-based group will be November 5, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. at the Peck Center.  Any interested city or county resident is invited to attend, regardless of place of residency.  For more information, consult the city’s website.

October 18, 2012 4:21 p.m.

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Len Kreger
Len Kreger (@guest_1811)
11 years ago

The reorganization meeting on 5 November 2012 is to determine and identify interested individuals and organizations with identifying those areas of sustainable where there is interest.

One area where continued emphasis will be placed is energy conservation along with consideration for renewable energy projects where there is potential.

One of the major projects Sustainable Fernandina completed was an evaluation of the potential savings for installation of Solar Hot water for the Atlantic Recreation Center Pool. The pay back and savings for this project were determined to be significant, accordingly specifications were drafted and provided for consderation for implementation in 2012.

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