Each certified STAR Community has its own story – a reason for joining STAR, benchmarking their progress, and a vision for community sustainability. Here are a few.
The City of Tacoma, WA was the first U.S. community to become certified in the STAR Community Rating System. Mayor Marilyn Strickland received recognition for achieving the 4-STAR Community Rating at the National League of Cities Congress of Cities Awards Luncheon on Saturday November 16, 2013 at the Seattle Convention Center. STAR Communities met up with Mayor Strickland before the event to discuss their progress over the past year and to learn what’s next for the city.
According to Tacoma’s Sustainability Manager Kristin Lynett, certification is just the first step. Now that they have the city’s sustainability efforts organized in one place they anticipate developing plans and policies to address gaps that were revealed during the process and continuing to engage the diversity of government agencies and community partners that participated with them on their pathway to certification.
View the Tacoma, WA STAR Certified Video with Mayor Marilyn Strickland
Read our blog about Tacoma’s certification at CitiesSpeak.org
The city of Evanston, IL publicly announced their 4-STAR Community Rating on March 7, 2014 during the Mayor’s State of the City Address.
“Sustainability is more than just saving energy — it means creating and maintaining a livable, healthy and efficient community accessible to all residents,” said Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl. “Achieving a 4-STAR Community Rating places Evanston among leaders nationwide, and provides a blueprint for future progress.”
City staff leveraged strong relationships with dozens of community groups to gather the data necessary to complete the year-long, quantitative assessment. Evanston earned 488 points across STAR’s seven goal areas; notable achievements included:
- Access to parks and recreation. Evanston’s Recreation Division provided more than $477,000 in scholarships for programs and services, providing access to 7,200 people.
- Energy efficiency. The City has reduced electricity usage by 22 percent since 2005, exceeding its Climate Action Plan Goal, and purchased 100 percent renewable electricity for its 23 largest facilities over a three-year period.
- Recycling. The City’s programs diverted more than 9,000 tons of recycling and 2,000 tons of yard waste from landfills.
- Green transportation. Evanston is home to eight publicly available electric vehicle charging stations at City parking lots and garages, as well as seven miles of bike lanes, eight miles of off-street bike paths, and 32 miles of signed bike routes, with a commitment to add more.
- Volunteerism. Evanston community members logged more than 160,000 volunteer hours in 2013 alone.