Fredericksburg receives VML award for environmental efforts
The City of Fredericksburg has received statewide recognition for its environmental stewardship efforts.
The Virginia Municipal League (VML) recently announced that Fredericksburg was chosen as the statewide winner for the “Environmental Quality” award for excellence in local government. The statewide competition recognizes innovative problem-solving, excellence in management, citizen participation, and improved services to citizens. It is recognized as Virginia’s highest honor in local government creativity.
The awards will be presented at VML’s annual conference in Roanoke in October. There are categories for Community Health, Economic Development, Environmental Quality, Public Safety, Working with Youth, and Communications.
VML had this to say about the City of Fredericksburg:
In 2016 the Fredericksburg City Council’s 20-year vision for their city included language to expand sustainability efforts and prevent littering – both of which affect the long-term quality of life for residents of the Rappahannock River community. Several initiatives begun since January 2018 have already resulted in significant improvements. Even better, these initiatives take a common-sense approach that motivates Fredericksburg’s citizens to be part of the solution. For starters, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department initiated a “Clean as you Go” program along the riverbank walking paths. As part of the program, the department set up several stations where hikers can obtain bags and trash grabbers to collect litter during their outings and deposit the full bags at the end of their walk. To discourage littering, a new policy requires that those caught littering be given a bag to pick up trash for an hour instead of being arrested.
Another new policy seeks to reduce the graffiti commonly found on rocks and surfaces near the river. Violators are now required to pay the $1,000 cost for one gallon of the environmentally friendly cleaner that must be used in proximity to the river.
The city also partnered with several organizations to install cigarette butt collectors in city-owned parks so that the butts can be recycled into compost and park benches. Finally, new brochures distributed by Public Works encourage city residents to begin composting to reduce organic waste sent to the landfill.
That’s a lot of smart initiatives to improve Fredericksburg’s natural environment in just two years!
Here is the video that Fredericksburg produced for the award application:
One other great piece of news: Fredericksburg Parks, Recreation and Events also recently received the Virginia Recreation and Park Society’s award for Best New Environmental Sustainability (population 25,001-50,000) for its “Trash Free Trails” initiative.