The City of Norcross was one of five local governments to be recognized yesterday by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) for leadership in implementing policies and practices that contribute to efficient and sustainable use of resources in metro Atlanta.
Norcross was honored for recertifying at the Gold level in ARC’s Green Communities program. ARC also recognized the cities of Atlanta, Peachtree Corners and Woodstock and Rockdale County for certifying or upgrading their certification in ARC’s six-year-old Green Communities program. “Norcross is to be commended for making its community more sustainable,” said Kerry Armstrong, ARC board chairman. “The city’s effort to conserve energy, reduce waste and protect natural resources set an example for the entire region.”
Norcross first earned Gold certification in 2011. Steps the city took to become recertified
- Ensuring that all residents of the city live within a half-mile of a publicly accessible park or greenspace.
- Maintaining the character of its historic downtown by purchasing and rehabilitating several vacant or abandoned buildings. The city’s Cotton Gin building was constructed 145 years ago and was converted from a vacant warehouse into a mixed-use facility.
- Utilizing innovative measures to capture excess stormwater, including the construction of a large rain garden beside City Hall. Bioswales have been installed along Thrasher Street, adding a natural buffer between the road and residences.
- Creatively reusing materials for artistic purposes through initiatives such as the ReImagine! exhibition, which provides artists an opportunity to install outdoor sculptures constructed of at least 75 percent reused material in public spaces for a 2- year period.
- Establishing an ordinance that requires parking spaces be located no further than 40 feet from a tree and at least one “canopy tree” for every seven parking spaces. The ordinance has been implemented in several locations, including a FedEx Ground Distribution Center employee parking lot.
ARC developed the Green Communities Program in 2009 to recognize local governments that invest in programs and policies that lead to a more sustainable region. The nationally recognized program showcases the ways in which local governments are helping transform the region by reducing their environmental footprint.
Since 2009, 20 jurisdictions in the 10-county region have been certified. Cities and counties earn Green Communities certification by implementing practices and policies in 10 categories, ranging from energy efficiency and green building to transportation and water efficiency. ARC’s Green Communities program was the first program in the country seeking to transform a region by promoting sustainability through a “green” certification program for local governments. Complete information about ARC’s Green Communities Certification Program, including the measures each community has implemented, is available on the agency’s website at www.atlantaregional.com/greencommunities.