The Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) and Project EverGreen announced Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan as the recipient of the 2018 TOCA Environmental Communicator of the Year Award.

The award, which recognizes individuals for outstanding communications efforts regarding green space and environmental issues, was presented during the TOCA Annual Conference in Cincinnati. He is the 20th recipient of this award.

Mayor of Detroit since 2014, Duggan announced an investment of $11.7 million to improve 40 neighborhood parks across the city of Detroit in 2016-17. Project EverGreen worked with the city, local businesses and community groups to renovate Pingree Park starting last November.

The city’s parks had been in decline due to budget constraints but as downtown Detroit experienced a renaissance, Duggan’s wanted to make sure the neighborhoods didn’t get left behind. The 40 parks were chosen based on key criteria including those with the highest concentration of children and senior citizens close by.

Accepting the award for the mayor, Bradley Dick, director general services department said, “Parks are the heart and soul of the city. The mayor’s progressive initiative to renovate 40 parks across the city help reduce blight and restore community pride.”

Promoting and communicating the substantial value of establishing a greener, cooler Earth through the creation, renovation and revitalization of managed recreational and athletic green spaces that result in healthier, happier people is at the core of Project EverGreen’s mission.

“Project EverGreen is pleased to recognize Mayor Duggan with this well-deserved honor,” said Cindy Code, executive director of Project EverGreen. “Well-maintained parks are transformational. They serve as community hubs, creating positive neighborhood relationships. Additionally, Pingree Park, along with the 40 other renovated Detroit parks combined, absorb almost enough carbon to offset an average car traveling 53,438 miles.”

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