TAYLOR — Mayor Cameron Priebe is the first recipient of the individual Greening Downriver award presented by the Southern Wayne County Regional Chamber.
The awards were introduced by the chamber this year to recognize those who “exemplify economic, social and ecological sustainability of the Downriver region through green practices.”
“Due to Mayor Priebe’s efforts, the city of Taylor has been recognized locally, regionally and on the state and national levels as a leading ‘green community,’” said Sandy Mull, vice president of the chamber. “He was the first Wayne County mayor to sign the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, which commits the city to taking deliberate action to combat global warming. “I also have four more pages of green initiatives the mayor is working on.”
Mull presented the award to Priebe at the chamber’s fifth annual Member Tribute held Monday in Wyandotte. The chamber is based in Taylor and serves the entire Downriver area.
Priebe said the honor is one that should be shared acknowledging a team effort.
“I do appreciate that I have received this award,” Priebe said, “but the fact is it wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of our city employees and the members of the City Council who assist us in implementing green initiatives.”
U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D-Dearborn) said the mayor’s honor is “well-deserved.”
“I am grateful that you and your community are willing to take a major role in the preservation of our planet and are working diligently to demonstrate the need for environmentally responsible governments,” Dingell said. “Your administration is also one of the most forward-thinking in the area of effective fuel-saving programs.”
Some of the most recent green initiatives led by Priebe and his administration include:
• Solar panels and a wind turbine have been installed at the Heritage Park Petting Farm to generate energy and provide an educational experience on renewable energy for visitors.
• Expanding the city’s green vehicle fleet by recently adding two new hybrid vehicles. The city also has reduced the number of city vehicles and operates a fleet that utilizes hydrogen, natural gas and biofuels. Using alternative fuel vehicles has resulted in the elimination of more than 25,000 pounds of air pollution each year.
• The use of energy-saving lighting and the dialing down of thermostats to improve efficiency of city buildings has resulted in the significant savings of more than half a million dollars over three years.
• The purchase of land to preserve green space and create new parks. In the last three years, new green locations include those at Katherine and Goddard, Wick and Mortenview, Ecorse and Buck and Superior Parkway near Pardee.
• Taylor is the first Michigan city to use a road resurfacing technology that involves penetrating deep into the foundation of the existing road, recycling the materials and mixing in additional materials as such as aggregate, stone or concrete for what officials call a “very smooth” reconstruction..
• Developing butterfly gardens for student education is a cooperative effort between the city, its Beautification Commission and the Taylor Garden Club.
Other recipients of awards from the Southern Wayne County Regional Chamber were:
• J.S. Vig Construction Co. of Taylor, Image Award
• Monroe Bank & Trust Downriver, Corporate Citizen Award
• DTE Energy, Greening Downriver Award, large organization or business
• City of Wyandotte, Greening Downriver Award, community
• Greg Gentner of GoldStar Financial, Community Service Award
• Kathy Koze of SendOutCards, chamber Ambassador of the Year
In addition, 2009 chamber Chairman Sam Sobh of Technical Components Inc. received the gavel from outgoing Chairman Fred Karn of Karn Sitkins Payette Insurance Agency Inc.