City of Auburn and AU join forces for urban sustainability - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

City of Auburn and AU join forces for urban sustainability

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) -

As Auburn continues to plan its downtown redevelopment, sustainability is a key goal of the project.

The City has joined forces with Auburn University to implement elements of the Downtown Master Plan as part of the Urban Sustainability Accelerator Program, a one-year grant-assisted program through Portland State University.

"Sustainability is a new of looking at the world that asks the question, so how can we make sure the future shows up, socially, economically, environmentally in terms of in individual well-being for everybody. How can we make sure it's the future we want to show up," explains Director of the Office of Sustainability at AU, Mike Kensler.

Throughout the year, members of the city and university will coordinate with program officials on many projects including the downtown alleyway improvements, the intersection of Samford Avenue and College Street, pedestrian safety and rain gardens.

"We want to work collaboratively with the University to make sure those projects meet both the City's and the University's needs and by working through this program, they can help up make sure that happens," says Auburn Assistant City Manager, Kevin Cowper.

The Urban Sustainability Accelerator initiative provides personalized consulting services to help cities implement sustainability projects.

The team of city and university employees will also collaborate with other cities with similar projects to learn from one another's experiences.

"How do we make a community livable? It's not just about being green, it's about creating spaces people want to come and congregate, socialize and have fun together," says Kensler.

This specific project will focus on the College Street corridor, from Samford Avenue to Toomer's Corner.

Auburn is committed to developing and sustaining a viable downtown.

"The big picture for us is reusing downtown, making sure it stays vibrant, making sure is stays economically healthy and that we're getting the most out of the infrastructure we already invested in, rather than continuing to spread out word," explains Cowper.

A team from Auburn University and the City of Auburn will travel to Portland University in July to continue designing a series of plans for downtown.

Copyright 2014 WTVM. All rights reserved. 

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