Thursday, March 10, 2011

'CITY GREEN': How downtown gets another parking garage -- and goes green too!

COLUMBIA, 3/10/11  (Beat Byte) --  "EPA Climate Showcase:  City Green: The District" is the grandiose name of an EPA-funded project to "reduce greenhouse gas emissions for commercial buildings in the central downtown area" Columbia City Council members are scheduled to approve Monday night.

At the same time, they'll likely approve
$1.25 million to buy land for yet another giant parking garage, this one at the other end of downtown, near Short Street and the redevelopment-ready Regency Hotel.
These strange cross purposes seem yet another indication of how City Hall's guiding mantra these days -- make money on every project, no matter how outlandish or unpopular -- makes less and less logical sense.
Presumably designed to fulfill a Visioning goal that Columbia reduce waste and conserve energy, the  EPA-funded project comes with $285,000 attached, with Columbia one of 25 communities selected to receive the funds (shades of GetAbout Columbia, $25 million and few projects later). 
City Green's stated goal is to generate "cost-effective and persistent greenhouse gas reductions while improving the environmental, economic, public health, and social conditions in a community."
But how that goal squares with filling up two new 8-story parking garages and several others besides -- day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year -- remains a miracle yet to be witnessed. 
Maybe the City will spring for hydrogen and electric powered vehicles for all. 

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