Richmond’s innovative alley redesign helps city win sustainability awards


Richmond’s innovative redesign of a once-dilapidated alleyway, as well as its ongoing partnership with Marin Clean Energy, are among the initiatives that just won the city recognition for energy savings and best practices in sustainability, according to the Mayor’s Office.

On Thursday, the city learned it received two gold awards from the Institute for Local Government‘s Beacon Program, which aims to celebrate and promote ideas and programs that develop healthier, greener and more sustainable communities.

This is the city’s first year participating in the program. In its application for the program, the city highlighted a number of recent initiatives, including increasing renewable energy use through MCE, water conservation efforts at City Hall, the city council’s adoption in 2013 of a single-use bag ordinance, and, more recently, the redesigned Mathieu Court Alley, which now acts as a pedestrian pathway and a natural stormwater drainage and filtration system.

“I’m proud of the city’s longstanding commitment to sustainability practices and combatting climate change,” Mayor Tom Butt said in a statement. “All of the initiatives that helped us earn these awards were voluntary policies and practices that directly improve the quality of life for our residents.”

Richmond joined the Beacon Program after council approved of the city’s participation in April 2015. Christopher Whitmore, director of community engagement for the mayor’s office, prepared the application.

City officials have been invited to accept the awards at a special ceremony in Long Beach next month, during the League of California Cities Annual Conference.