Mayor Graham Richard tonight announced a new grassroots public campaign to engage the community in energy saving and air quality practices. Mayor Richard made the announcement as part of his Report to the People speech to the Southwest Area Partnership.

The campaign will include a community involvement “Open Space” meeting. Open Space is a unique meeting format that allows participants to present their ideas and identify areas of interest in a group setting. The session is expected to result in several ideas for how individuals, families, neighborhoods, businesses, and schools can support and implement energy conservation techniques.

The Open Space event will be held in April. A specific date and time will be announced in the coming weeks.

Additional activities will include working with businesses to seek voluntary pledges from them to reduce energy use. Educational programs are also part of the public outreach campaign. The goal is to develop a model of public engagement and action that can be shared and implemented across the country. A substantial and sustainable effort to engage the community was a key recommendation from the Green Ribbon Commission that recently developed a comprehensive energy and clean air plan for the community.

John Steinbach with JP Consultants, Inc. of Fort Wayne will assist the City with the campaign. Steinbach works with businesses and organizations on civic engagement projects and is passionate about energy and environmental issues. Steinbach was trained by Al Gore and a team of experts at the Climate Project on climate change issues and how to engage the public. Additional information is available at

“This is a great opportunity for citizen involvement as we work to establish a model program for energy efficiency and clean air,” said Mayor Richard. “We'€™re building a better city that will be able to continue to retain and gain jobs with a great quality of life.”

Fort Wayne has been a leader through its Green City Initiative:

* First-ever Energy Policy was enacted in January 2007

* Green Ribbon Commission issued its energy and clean air plan in October 2006. The City is actively implementing several of the recommendations from the report

* Fort Wayne is a leader in innovative techniques with hybrid vehicles, biodiesel and ethanol fuels and anti-idling software