Less Trash, More Garden
Almost as soon as it started, Berkeley’s food waste program became the highestperforming program in Alameda County. Immediately, our green cart collection tons jumped by 50%, residential refuse dropped by 250 tons per month, and our contamination rate is the lowest in the County. Thirty-nine percent of Berkeley households compost their food waste, and 68% of green carts have food scraps in them. It comes back, too – free compost is available to residents. For more information, call 981-7270.
Building New Communities
The Brower Center is sustainable in process and purpose – the construction process and materials are likely to earn it the highest level LEED green building certification, and the building offers more than 50,000 square feet of public gathering and office space for environmental organizations. Next door to the Brower Center’s environmental community will be Oxford Plaza’s residential community. Oxford Plaza has 97 units of affordable workforce housing and is well situated between the university, which is the city’s largest employer, and the downtown Berkeley transportation hub. That’s not the only building going on in Berkeley: The next year will also bring new and renovated entertainment venues, retail, hotels, and housing.
For information about Oxford Plaza and other recently completed affordable housing projects, please visit the Housing Department. (Photo credit: James Tyler, Courtesy Brower Center, June 2008)
Last year, the City Council asked YouthWorks to increase the number of City-sponsored employment opportunities for Berkeley youth. Almost 300 youth participated in a variety of YouthWorks activities this summer, including working on graffiti crews, trades training, and in private sector jobs. About 200 youth also went to Business Boot Camp at Berkeley City College, where they were introduced to some of the life skills that are necessary in the working world. For more information, call 981-4970.
Room to Run
Finding a new home for Berkeley Animal Care Services was not an easy task – the ideal site has room for animals to exercise, is accessible to residents who want to adopt animals, but is also far enough from neighborhoods so the occasional canine sing-along won’t bother anyone. A new location has been identified, and later this fall, the Humane Commission, the Council, and the public will get their first look at plans for the new site.
Although funding for transportation is vulnerable to local and state budget fluctuations, there is still a lot of construction work being done around Berkeley. The largest project this year was the repaving of Martin Luther King Jr. Way, which was a 2.4 mile project (Link to Project Notice and Map (.pdf)). Every week, Public Works publishes a list of construction projects, including storm drains, sewers, sidewalks, streets, transportation, and work being done by other agencies, such as PG&E, CalTrans, or East Bay MUD. To learn what’s going on in your neighborhood, visit the Public Works Construction Update page.