Decreased service charges for recycling programs and new bike trails are a part of plans to make Fayetteville more eco-friendly in 2020.

City and UA officials are working to implement more sustainable practices in the city and on the UA campus through an increased push for clean energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

By expanding recycling and trash operations, city officials are working towards the goal of an 80% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 for the community, said Chris McNamara, project manager for Fayetteville’s sustainability department.

One of the long term goals for the city is “expanding bike trails within a half-mile of every neighborhood in the city,” McNamara said.

There are currently 46.5 miles paved trails within the city, City of Fayetteville Trails Coordinator Matt Milahovic said.

“Our goal of our master plan is to connect [trails] within half a mile of every house in the city,” Milahovic said.

A new trail being worked on near Gulley Park on East Township Street will make 2,000 houses approximately half a mile away from the new trail, Milahovic said.

Officials are also working on designs for a project that will connect the area around the Don Tyson Center for Agricultural Sciences to College Avenue, Milahovic said.

A new bond passed by taxpayers in April will add $7 million to the city’s $1.5 million allotted to the trail building crews over the next nine years, Milahovic said.

New rates implemented in April discount commercial recycling and eliminated an extra charge for multi-family recycling, according to the City of Fayetteville.

The food-waste composting pilot is now a commercial food-waste composting service, where participants pay $14.87 a month to compost kitchen waste. The curbside compost service includes pick up three times a week.

The city is working to reach city government goals in addition to community goals.

In 2019, the city reached 72% of its goal to have 100% clean energy production for city government operations, McNamara said.

After solar panels were installed at Fayetteville’s two wastewater treatment plants in fall 2019, the progress of the goal increased by 54 percentage points.

UA officials met their 2021 goal in 2017, which focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 125,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, according to the UA Sustainability Office.

UA Officials are working to meet this goal in a number of ways including by designing all new buildings to LEED Silver or above standards, encouraging alternative transportation and pursuing renewable energy, according to the UA Sustainability Office.

Since then, UA officials have worked to reach 50% waste diversion from landfills by 2021 by recycling, composting and focusing on waste aversion, according to the UA Office for Sustainability. On campus, 45% of waste is diverted from the landfill.

At the University of Tennessee, a similarly sized university with 28,321 students, the amount of waste diverted from the landfill was 33% in 2018, compared to 36% at the UofA.

Fayetteville’s City Plan 2040 sets a framework for development, which includes the city’s specific plans for becoming more sustainable, senior planner Jonathan Curth said.

The most recent draft of the plan was discussed at the Dec. 17, 2019 City Council meeting.

The city plan outlines goals like the development of properties closer to town, connected neighborhoods, a livable transportation network and develops environmentally sensitive areas carefully, Curth said.

“That’s where you get into seeing some of the language of how Fayetteville is working to develop more sustainably and more intention towards the implications of climate change,” Curth said.

City council members will vote on a draft at the second city council meeting Jan. 21.

Abbi Ross is a staff reporter for the Arkansas Traveler, where she has been a staff reporter since March 2019.

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