By Herb Meeker
News Report Staff
The City of Effingham earned an award that will help light up the community for visitors.
Effingham was named a 2016 Progressive City by Ameren of Illinois for the city’s efforts on energy efficiency and also initiating projects for improving the quality of life in the community.
Some of the projects included green initiatives for building construction by Patterson Technologies with charging stations of electric cars; wind turbines installed by Hodgson Mill; a clean-up project called “Pick It Up, Effingham!; Harmony Playground for providing access to children and adults facing special needs; renovation of the old courthouse into a cultural center and history museum; the Effingham Community Garden; and local Farmer’s Market.
The city also had 51 residential and business energy efficiency projects completed from June 1, 2015, to May 31, 2016, amounting to about $50,000 in energy savings.
“I want to thank Ameren Illinois for this award,” said Effingham Mayor Jeff Bloemker during the award ceremony in Effingham City Hall. “This award is about the residents and businesses that have made a conscious decision to take action in ways that improve our quality of life and reduce our impact on the environment. It is a blessing and a blast to be mayor of a designated Progressive City.”
The city will receive a $2,500 grant to assist with solar lighting on the city welcome signs located at different entrances to Effingham. In addition, the city will have road signs designating it as an Ameren Illinois Progressive City.
Over the past seven years, Ameren has chosen Progressive City awardees based on business and residential energy savings. However, this year the selection was expanded to include other efforts by the communities. This added to the number of communities recognized to nine.
Ameren believes success in a community is good for its business. The utility has 1.2 million electric and 816 natural gas customers in downstate Illinois.
“What’s good for a community is good for Ameren, too. When the community grows and prospers it means we are, too,” said George Justice, Ameren Illinois Division IV director.