PEKIN — In terms of saving energy and improving its residents’ quality of life, Pekin apparently is doing a few things right.
Enough, in fact, for Ameren Illinois to list it as a Progressive City, the electric company’s annual recognition of Illinois communities in the forefront of efforts to lower energy costs and generally improve their ecology.
Ameren presented a $2,500 grant, its award for the recognition, at a short ceremony Tuesday at the Mineral Springs Park Pavilion.
It was the first time Pekin was chosen as a Progressive City in the eight years Ameren has honored selected communities. Others recognized this year were Danville, O’Fallon, Litchfield, Nashville, Bloomington and Pittsfield.
In previous years Ameren focused solely on energy efficiency projects in its community recognitions. It recently expanded its criteria “to encompass sustainability efforts and other innovative programs” to make the award available to a wider range of communities, the company stated in a news release.
Pekin was honored “for helping the overall quality of life for its people,” Daetta Jones, Ameren’s director of division operations, said at the award ceremony.
Pekin was recognized for its focus on making downtown more bicycle and pedestrian friendly, advances in its city recycling initiative and increased use of LED lights for public works projects, including the LED lights outlining the Pekin Airport runway.
Ameren also worked with more than 700 residents and businesses in the city over a year ending last May to generate more than $350,000 in annual energy savings, Jones said.
“We are honored that Ameren Illinois chose to recognize Pekin as a 2017 Progressive City,” said Mayor John McCabe. “The award reinforces our commitment to implementing projects that promote efficiency and sustainability.”
The city plans to use the grant to purchase more curbside recycling containers for residents.
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