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Earth Day 2013 might be celebrated with Crestview street festival

CRESTVIEW — A calendar of downtown celebrations may include Earth Day if Crestview City Council President Ben Iannucci III and Public Works Director Wayne Steele’s efforts are successful.

Iannucci said he and Steele have discussed emulating DeFuniak Springs’ successful Earth Day celebration. The topic came up while they mulled incorporating green technology and practices into city services.

Local companies pursuing conservation and energy efficiency initiatives could share such innovations at a downtown Earth Day festival, Ianuuci said. Demonstrations of energy generating and conservation equipment could line Main Street at such an event.

“We would invite vendors to come in and companies that want to display things. It’s a lot of education. Invite groups to set up booths the way we do with a lot of the things we do on Main Street.”

Iannucci said he and Steele discussed including the city’s garbage contractor if a Crestview Earth Day festival becomes a reality.

“We talked to Waste Pro about things they would be able to do,” he said. “They have new technologies out there, such as natural-gas-powered garbage trucks. We had discussed having a garbage truck where we’d open up the back end and everybody can bring in their recyclables and toss them in.”

The event would be open to the public, Steele said.  

Jason O’Daniels — DeFuniak Springs’ code enforcement and environmental compliance officer, who organized his city’s April event — has offered to help Crestview leaders produce a similar festival. Demonstrating green technologies showed residents in the neighboring city how the practices can save taxpayer and personal dollars, he said.

“I had so many different types of vendors last year,” O’Daniels said. “I had Alabama A&M University bring a biodiesel reactor down. It took raw waste vegetable oil, ran it through the whole process and produced diesel oil at the end and ran a generator.”

Companies demonstrated solar power applications for residences, a wind turbine that generates power in as little as a half-mile-an-hour breeze, and “a guy running his car, lawn mower and weed whacker off of propane.”

“I wanted to make sure I encompassed everything so I even had a soybean-based spray insulation company that reduces energy consumption for heating and cooling,” O’Daniels said.

Embracing green technologies is key to a successful conservation program he said.

“You can become energy (efficient) and self-reliant — municipal and personal — but it takes so many ways,” O’Daniels said. “You can’t put all your eggs in one basket. At our Earth Day event, we were showing how this is achievable.

Working with Gulf Power, DeFuniak is poised to cut its street lighting bill by 70 percent, O’Daniels said.

Crestview officials anticipate potentially displaying current technologies that residents and the city can use to save energy — and money.

“Well, we just agreed to recycle a building from Gulf Power,” Councilman Tom Gordon said somewhat jokingly. He was referring to the city’s acceptance of a donated building that could become a city recycling center.

The Crestview City Council on Dec. 10 unanimously approved Ianucci’s request to form a committee to discuss a downtown Crestview Earth Day festival.

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