In a recent survey, local leaders identified the top five environmental concerns in Clark County as litter, stormwater runoff, a lack of recycling, illegal dumping and failing septic systems.
As part of a federally-funded project to create an environmental strategic plan for eight counties including Clark, local stakeholders met Monday morning at City Hall to discuss a plan to address those problems.
Bluegrass PRIDE, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the environment, will create a roadmap to solve them, according to a news release, and the organization will use that roadmap to direct future programs in the area.
In attendance at the meeting were representatives of Bluegrass Area Development District and EHI Consultants, a planning and design firm. Bluegrass PRIDE is contracting with the two entities to create the strategic plan.
“This is our fourth meeting of eight, and by the end of the week we will have had all eight meetings,” said Kyle Scott, Bluegrass ADD regional planner. “... so this is your bite of the apple, I guess I would say. So this is your shot to identify specific projects, plans, policies, that you would like to see addressed on an environmental perspective.”
Mike Slagle, planner for EHI Consultants, gave an overview of the survey results. One of the survey questions asked participants to rate the “quality of the environment” in their county. They were asked to rate eight categories, including air quality, industrial waste services and environmental education programs, as “poor,” “fair,” “good” or “excellent.” The category with the lowest rating overall was environmental education, Slagle said.
“And that’s one of the reasons why we’re here, to get information on how Bluegrass PRIDE can help in that area,” he said.
Slagle also said survey participants identified environmental outreach needs for Clark: composting, conservation, litter awareness, recycling, septic improvements, stormwater education, stream protection and sustainability.
Those in attendance at the meeting included Gary Epperson, director of the Winchester/Clark County Emergency Management Office; Shanda Cecil, project coordinator for Strodes Creek Conservancy; Mike Flynn, Winchester Municipal Utilities, manager; and City Manager Ken Kerns.
Local leaders at the meeting identified several additional areas of concern, including problems with trash flying out of pick-up trucks, cigarette butt litter and butt receptacles being stolen, and the need for increased environmental awareness education, particularly with regard to recycling.
The strategic plan will be complete by May 31, 2012, and Bluegrass PRIDE will work with each of the counties to implement the plan.
Contact Katie Perkowski at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter, @TheSunKatie.