LAFAYETTE — Lafayette, West Lafayette and Tippecanoe County have hired an engineering firm to help the region create an environmental plan.

“All three local units of government have joined in together to work on a climate change action plan for the community,” Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski said Tuesday at the morning Board of Public Works meeting.

Moments later, the board approved spending $11,893 for three months of work by Greeley and Hansen Engineers, a Chicago-based firm.

Across the river, the West Lafayette board of works approved an identical contract Tuesday morning, as did the Tippecanoe County commissioners on Monday.

Margy Deverall, a Lafayette planner and project manager for the economic development department, said this is the first regional plan climate action plan in the state.

The approved contract calls for Greeley and Hansen to help in Phase I and Phase II of a proposed five-phase plan. The first two phases are identifying and coordinating the leadership framework, as well as the interested parties and helping to track down grants for future projects.

Greeley and Hansen will then create a mission and vision statement, eventually coming up with a schedule for implementing any future plans.

The specific plans have yet to be determined, Deverall said. That will, according to the Greeley and Hansen contract, come in later phases.

Phases three through five include creating and implementing specific plans, Deverall said. The contract does not require that the cities and county retain Greeley and Hansen for the next three phases of the plan.

Whatever the plan eventually is, it’s important to make sure there’s not an adverse effect on the local economy, West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis told the Lafayette board of works.

“We have a lot of examples of other cities and towns, not just throughout the country, but throughout the world,” Dennis said. “If we don’t start now, we’ll be so far behind the curve it will almost be impossible to get to where we need to be.”

Eventually, the climate action plan will create noticeable changes for people living in the regions.

For local governments and industry, it will likely means adopting best-practice policies to reduce greenhouse gases, Deverall said.

As an example, Deverall said perhaps local government might evaluate whether it’s less expensive in the long term to purchase alternative energy technology, such as wind and solar, rather than continuing to buy electricity from a traditional retailers, Deverall said.

At the industrial level, it might be determining how waste can be reduced, while at the residential level, the daily changes might be green educational opportunities and small changes — new trash pickup policies or new light bulbs, Deverall said.

Deverall said Purdue students have helped West Lafayette quantify the greenhouse gases in the area, so that gives the plan a head start when the region enters into the next phases of the plan, which should happen next year.

The plan is an eye to the future for the next generations.

“We want to make sure the world we pass off is a world they’re going to be able to live and thrive in,” Dennis said.

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