O'Fallon Progress

Shiloh honored by Ameren for energy-efficiency initiatives

Shiloh Mayor Jim Vernier points to an area of Shiloh near Three Springs Park to Ray Riddle, Ameren Illinois division director, directly following the “Progressive City” award presentation at village hall, 1 Park Dr., on Monday.
Shiloh Mayor Jim Vernier points to an area of Shiloh near Three Springs Park to Ray Riddle, Ameren Illinois division director, directly following the “Progressive City” award presentation at village hall, 1 Park Dr., on Monday. rkirsch@bnd.com

Shiloh may be growing under the shadow of its iconic peppermint-striped water tower, but the village is trending green. Local Ameren Illinois representatives presented Shiloh with a Progressive City award Monday as a recognition of its recent energy efficient and environmentally conscious initiatives.

Along with the award, Ameren Illinois has distributed $2,500 to each of the nine honored communities to be used for projects of a similarly “green” focus.

“We are recognizing cities who are doing what they can to be more energy efficient and just being proactive to make their community better for its residents,” Ameren representative Brian Bretsch said Monday.

Bretsch noted that some communities have already earmarked the funds for one specific project. “The village will be able to put this money to good use to continue its efforts in being a progressive area leader.”

Shiloh Mayor Jim Vernier said the city will be “using the funds from the project to do some power repairs out at the Yorktown Golf Course, and replacing the lighting system that’s about 40 years old.

“We will be displaying the signs proudly in our community on a few different roadways so our residents will be aware of the village’s award from Ameren as being a Progressive City,” he said.

The award really is about our residents and businesses that have made conscious decisions to take action in ways to improve our quality of life and reduce our impact on the environment. I want to thank those residents and business owners for working together on this.

Shiloh Mayor Jim Vernier

“The actions that our communities are taking to improve the quality of life for their residents and businesses are admirable,” Ameren Illinois President Richard Mark said in a news release.

This is the seventh year since Ameren Illinois launched the award program. Previous recipients were selected based on business and residential energy savings throughout the year, but 2016 is the first year the company has stretched the selection criteria to include sustainability and other advance initiatives undertaken by the communities, Bretsch said.

Shiloh and Fairview Heights are two of nine cities throughout the Ameren Illinois service territory to receive the designation for success in implementing forward-looking initiatives to better the quality of life for residents and businesses, according to Bretsch.

“The award really is about our residents and businesses that have made conscious decisions to take action in ways to improve our quality of life and reduce our impact on the environment. I want to thank those residents and business owners for working together on this,” Vernier said.

“The energy efficiency we saved that we realize through the Ameren Illinois’ programs are the equivalent to removing almost 200 tons of carbon dioxide gases from our environment and recycling three tons of waste or planting 4,500 trees, so that’s a pretty significant impact I think.”

The village’s partnership with Ameren Illinois during the construction of a new substation and a power line project is one of the reasons the village was honored, Bretsch said.

“Another factor was the opening of the new Memorial Hospital East to help better serve the healthcare needs of Shiloh’s residents,” said Ray Riddle, Ameren Illinois division director.

The substation was built close to the new hospital to accommodate projected future growth, Vernier said.

Curbside recycling is another “green” endeavor upon which the village has embarked. Shiloh is in the fourth year of a five-year partnership with Republic Services to provide 18-gallon recycling containers to residents.

Shiloh’s Board of Trustees approved the implementation of an energy-savings plan for all village municipal buildings in 2013 with Nu Way Lighting Company.

35 residential and business energy efficiency projects in Shiloh, completed between June 1, 2015, and May 31, 2016, generated more than $21,000 in annual energy savings, Riddle said during his presentation.

Bretsch also highlighted the village’s active participation in “Rebuilding Together,” a multicounty group that provides home repair and renovation services to qualifying homeowners. The initiative enhances the overall appearance of the community and the development and maintenance of walking and biking trails.

Shiloh Village School District #85 Superintendent Dale Sauer said he is “proud of our village and the work they’ve done.”

Being eco-friendly has “been a priority for (Shiloh) for a long time, and now it’s paying off,” Terry Bruckert, village attorney said.

Shiloh Administrator John Marquart said this isn’t the first time the village has been recognized for its “green” efforts.

“We received the same award from Heartlands Conservancy for our work at preserving the wetlands and our conservancy efforts. It’s kind of a different type of conservancy, but still is important for us to help our residents partner with Ameren in times of emergency, improvement and day-to-day operations,” Marquart said.

Robyn L. Kirsch: 618-239-2690, @BND_RobynKirsch

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