West Liberty, Ky. – The Rebuilding West Liberty, Kentucky effort will be featured on the PBS show “Eco-Sense.”
Rebuilding West Liberty, Kentucky is a a multi-faceted approach to redevelop a small town in coal country as a national model for sustainability and is a Clinton Global Initiative America Commitment to Action. The project, which was developed through a comprehensive strategic planning process involving community leaders and prominent state non-profits, is being managed by Fahe, a nonprofit that serves Appalachia through a variety of sectors.
Ted Turner’s daughter Jennie Garlington is host of the show and she and her husband own a horse farm in Paris, Ky.
The show will air at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 28 on KET2, and is available on line.
In March 2012, the small community of West Liberty, Kentucky was nearly destroyed by a monstrous tornado. Seven lives were lost, 400 homes demolished, $50 million of damage incurred, and most of the downtown devastated. Rather than view this crisis as a hopeless tragedy, the 3400 residents instead saw an opportunity to rebuild their town as a 21st Century, sustainable community, and to develop a path to create a more competitive, entrepreneurial economy. From the heart of coal country, West Liberty could provide a replicable, energy-diversified model for post-disaster recovery communities across the globe, and – perhaps more significantly – an example for other distressed areas of rural America.
The first phase of Rebuilding West Liberty, Kentucky will involve the construction of state-of-the-art, energy efficient homes that utilize renewable technologies, and the educational promotion of its innovations to school children and similarly-situated rural communities across the country. At its heart is a $7.9 million plan to construct 52 new Energy Star certified housing units that will serve hundreds of community residents who have been displaced by the storm. A 48 unit multi-family, energy-efficient development by Winterwood, Inc. opened this spring to replace similar housing that was destroyed in the tornado. The focus is now on four single-family homes that will provide a test case for innovative new designs and technologies to be utilized as the project expands. These site-built homes will include solar that will be designed eliminate all utility costs for these homeowners and provide a replicable model for an energy-efficient future.
Excitingly, the project also includes the installation of a web-enabled Energy Efficiency Education Dashboard that will provide a global audience real-time monitoring of the energy improvements, video tours of the facilities, and a curriculum for public schools in Kentucky, and perhaps the United States.
This project is a collaboration among city leaders, leading Kentucky non-profits including the Fahe, Next Step and Frontier Housing, as well as the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research, KY Innovation Network office at Morehead State University and the Regional Technology & Innovation Center.
“Our first priority, of course, is to rebuild our town, we are also very excited to serve as a model for the whole country,” shared West Liberty Mayor Mark Walter. “We’re so thankful to all of our partners and to the Clinton Global Initiative in helping establish our community as a national leader in energy efficiency.”
“While we experienced quite a tragedy in 2012, I’m so proud of the way our community has come together behind this innovative Rebuilding West Liberty idea,” noted Hank Allen, CEO, Commercial Bank of West Liberty.
For more information on how the public can assist this effort, visit www.fahe.org/west-liberty