Whiting, Munster green efforts recognized

2013-10-05T18:40:00Z 2013-10-05T23:03:07Z Whiting, Munster green efforts recognizedLu Ann Franklin Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
October 05, 2013 6:40 pm  • 

Officials from Whiting and Munster will be in Indianapolis on Monday to receive coveted community awards from the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns.

Whiting Mayor Joseph Stahura will receive the 2013 IACT Green Community of the Year award at the annual awards luncheon during the IACT conference and exhibition. The award recognizes the city’s exemplary efforts in the area of green programs, according to an IACT news release.

Munster’s Town Manager Tom DeGiulio, Assistant Town Manager Clay Johnson and Clerk-Treasurer Dave Shafer will take home the 2013 IACT Community Achievement Award for the town’s gas-to-energy project at Centennial Park that turns methane from the former landfill into electricity.

A representative from Evansville-based Energy Systems Group that installed, maintains and operates the $4.3 million electric generation project also will be at the luncheon, Johnson said.

Both municipalities have previously won IACT awards.

This is the Whiting’s fourth IACT Green Community of the Year designation for cities with populations between 5,000 and 9,999.

In 2007, Munster received the IACT Community Achievement Award for developing Centennial Park. That award recognized the park as a leader in environmental technologies with rain garden, green roofs and a clubhouse that received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver certification.

Stahura said Friday he was on the committee that created the Green Community of the Year award in 2008. It involves filling out a 49-question survey regarding purchasing, operations, measuring success and sample projects.

“It helps the environment and helps the budget,” the mayor said. “It’s a mission of ours (in Whiting) now.”

He credited Mark Harbin, Whiting recycling director, for enhancing the recycling program that helped the city win the award and for filling out the application.

Munster’s methane-to-electricity plant opened in November 2012, becoming the first municipally owned landfill in Indiana to build and operate this kind of system. The electricity generated by the plant goes directly into the local electrical grid and is sold to NIPSCO, which results in revenue for the town.

“When I hear about projects such as Munster’s waste to energy initiative, I am completely energized by the limitless creativity found in municipal government,” IACT Executive Director/CEO Matt Greller said in the news release.

“To take an old landfill and make it into a beautiful public space is visionary. To then develop that space into a revenue-generating environmentally responsible endeavor is inspiring,” Greller said

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