By Staff Reports
FORT PAYNE, Ala.—Last week the city of Fort Payne was designated a Valley Sustainable Silver Community by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) after the city completed a number of sustainability initiatives as a part of TVA’s Valley Sustainable Communities Program.
“Because of this endeavor, Fort Payne is viewed as a leader in understanding the importance of sustainable practices in the areas of energy and water conservation, waste reduction, natural resource protection, and overall quality of place,” Jimmy Durham, Executive Director of DeKalb County Economic Development Authority, said. “Fort Payne understands that a sustainability program integrated with economic development efforts is essential. This takes Fort Payne’s economic development marketing efforts to prospective and existing sustainably-focused companies to a whole new level.”
The Valley Sustainable Communities Program, now in its third year, was initiated by TVA Economic Development as part of its community preparedness offerings to assist communities in evaluating existing sustainable programs, cataloging their sustainable assets, and increasing future commitments to sustainability. The goal of the program is to document a community’s assets and increase the likelihood that they will be viewed as progressive and competitive by companies looking to invest in new or expanded locations.
“This program is the first of its kind to connect the dots between corporate America’s commitment to sustainability and its impact on economic development, which ultimately will ensure that our communities are more prepared to compete in global markets,” added John Bradley, TVA senior vice president of Economic Development. “We are seeing that more and more companies have an increasing business emphasis on sustainable operations, and are adding this component to their RFIs as they search for a community where they can locate, grow, and enhance their company and employee sustainability commitments.”
An Inventory of Community Sustainability Programs and Activities was completed in Fort Payne to begin the process. Using the inventory as a guide, TVA identified areas of community interest. TVA will also provide marketing tactics to increase awareness of the sustainability efforts of Fort Payne. The program consists of three levels of qualification—Silver, Gold and Platinum— based on a points system of 15 categories.
Durham said Fort Payne was chosen because their commitment to Sustainability in their community. Using the Inventory of Community Sustainability Programs and Activities, TVA awarded Fort Payne with the Silver Level because they completed the recommended criteria of the Silver Level. To obtain a Gold level, Fort Payne will implement Sustainable practices into their Master Plan of Downtown Fort Payne.
“Fort Payne is a participant of this specific TVA program. TVA has offered this program for the past three years to any Tennessee Valley community because of their ongoing mission statement to provide the region with economic development assistance,” Durham said. “In the near future you will see more sustainability marketing efforts from this office and the city of Fort Payne.”