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- Clean air and water must be a priority for us to remain a vibrant community well into the future. We have made strides, but have much work to do. We should continue to expand our development of tree canopy, particularly in riparian areas, to create conditions for cleaner water, and healthier systems in which we can fish and play, and which support bio-diversity. We should encourage maintenance of aging septic systems to prevent intrusion of pollution into waterways. And with focused redevelopment, we can maintain important swaths of greenspace that maintain lower temperatures and clean air.
- Expanding targeted access to waterways and natural areas provides current and future residents with the ability to see firsthand the indelible connections we have with the ecosystem. New greenway network segments and public canoe ramps can continue to be economic, environmental and public health drivers, and educational opportunities.
- As part of a plan for halting climate change, Athens should pursue solar power production for municipal use, joining residents that have made this move. The hardscape disposal site at the corner of College and Cleveland Avenue is an ideal site for this, located close to municipal facilities, and available to the structural support required of solar arrays.
- Water re-use and efficiency should be enhanced. This would include the recently discussed “purple pipe” system that would allow water already used and treated to be applied to industrial uses, lowering the use of treated municipal water for this purpose. We should also create greater efficiency requirements for new construction, and enhance support for efficiency enhancements in existing structures.
- Solid waste reduction efforts that have improved in the last decade through greater recycling must continue to move forward. Every effort to steer waste away from the landfill reduces funds that have to be committed to land acquisition and engineering, keeps the active landfill further from nearby residents, and promotes material re-use. A construction debris collection system, and food waste collection system will assist in providing these benefits.