Russellville: Committee Makes It A Little Easier Being Green (Green Initiatives | Honorable Mention 20,000+)

Russellville Mayor Bill Eaton took office in January 2011, and quickly began making moves to make the city of 28,000 greener.

Eaton formed the Clean & Green Committee in February 2011, and its environmental efforts have blossomed. Those initiatives have earned Russellville honorable-mention recognition as a 2012 Arkansas Business City of Distinction for Green/Energy Conservation.

The mission of the committee is to “promote and encourage the use of environmentally responsible actions and strategies throughout the city while improving the physical appearance of the city,” said committee co-chairman Tracey Cline-Pew.

One of the committee’s goals is to educate students about the need for recycling, litter prevention and conservation.

“If you can teach a child to be environmentally responsible, you can change the world,” Cline-Pew said.

So far, the efforts are working.

In the past year, the committee has:

  • Donated more than 750 trees to the city’s Recreation & Parks Department.
  • Provided seeds for 10 acres of wildflowers that will be planted along the city’s roads.
  • Placed “Do Not Litter” signs in all 22 of the city’s parks.
  • Provided trash cans and recycle bins at community events.

Russellville was asked this year to represent Arkansas in the SC Johnson Green Choices Recycling Challenge. The committee is in charge of promoting the challenge and encouraging residents to recycle, Cline-Pew said.

The community with the highest recycling participation rate during the six-month challenge will receive a $100,000 grant from household products maker SC Johnson of New York.

Other green initiatives taken by the city of Russellville include installing sidewalks and trails.

“Increasing foot and bike traffic and decreasing reliance on automobiles is another example of Russellville’s commitment to the environment,” Cline-Pew said.

The city awarded the committee $5,000 for 2012.

“The value of the Clean & Green Committee to the community cannot be measured in dollars and cents alone,” Cline-Pew said. “The fact that we are reducing Russellville’s environmental footprint and creating a more beautiful, green and sustainable community is of intrinsic value to the overall health and welfare of the community.”