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Looking back and ahead on 'big wins' for climate change response in Greater Cincinnati

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Becca Costello

More than $8 million in grants is headed to Cincinnati to support climate change response and sustainability initiatives.

The Green Cincinnati Plan sets a goal of attracting $25 million in grants over the next five years. Director of Environment and Sustainability Ollie Kroner says more federal funding is available than ever before.

"The next six months are going to be pretty pivotal as we wait to hear on these grant opportunities that are out the door," Kroner said. "I think we have applications out for between $60 million and $80 million, and we're finding a lot of success so far."

RELATED: A federal grant is funding work on a climate change action plan for Greater Cincinnati

One benefit is a near doubling of the Office of Environment and Sustainability staff.

"This time last year we had nine people on the team and today we have 16 in the office, and that looks like a pace that will continue as more of these grants start to land," Kroner said. "This is the biggest the team at OES has ever been."

Three grant-funded positions have joined the city through FUSE, a nonprofit that funds year-long executive fellowships with city and county agencies:

A recent grant awarded to the entire Cincinnati metro area will fund the creation of a regional climate pollution reduction plan.

RELATED: The 2023 Green Cincinnati Plan sets ambitious goals, including 100% carbon neutrality by 2050

Another grant will study energy efficiency in low-income housing through a partnership with Over-the-Rhine Community Housing.

"This will help demonstrate whether it helps alleviate energy poverty," Kroner said. "That's an exciting pilot that sort of helps tie together affordable housing and climate equity in a really important way."

The Green Cincinnati Plan has 130 policy goals for the city. You can monitor progress through the online dashboard.

Local Government Reporter with a particular focus on Cincinnati; experienced journalist in public radio and television throughout the Midwest. Enthusiastic about: civic engagement, public libraries, and urban planning.