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Fayetteville Wins Two 2012 City of Distinction Awards

01/17/2013

Fayetteville received two 2012 Arkansas Business City of Distinction awards at the annual Municipal League Conference today.  These awards were in the categories of Green/Energy Conservation Initiatives and Technological Advancements.

Each year, ArkansasBusiness honors Arkansas cities with its City of Distinction awards. The awards recognize the successes of Arkansas cities as demonstrated by financial innovations, resourceful efficiencies, improved public service and overall enhanced public trust and support. The award recipients are chosen by an independent panel of judges with expertise in each award category. The winning cities have demonstrated a commitment to economic development and quality of life for their citizens. The programs and initiatives they have developed and implemented are excellent examples of the success that can be achieved when community leaders work together.  The City of Distinction awards are presented by Crews & Associates Investment Bankers in Little Rock and sponsored by Arkansas Municipal League, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, and Associated Industries of Arkansas.

A City of Fayetteville biosolids program to turn wastewater into cash while improving the environment earned Fayetteville recognition as a 2012 Arkansas Business City of Distinction for Green / Energy Conservation Initiatives.   The City of Fayetteville looked beyond the normal way of doing business and implemented a new idea by drying biosolids. The City is one of the first to pair solar and thermal drying. The beneficial reuse product helps farmers and residents maintain soil quality on their lands while reducing the City’s dependence on landfills.  Over time, this City project will pay for itself financially, in addition to the environmental benefits that can already be seen.  Duyen Tran, CH2M Hill project manager for the Fayetteville Wastewater Treatment Facility, stated ��The treatment plants clean the wastewater using a mostly biological process that feeds the incoming wastewater to a population of microbial bugs�� and ��The bugs are colonies of bacteria and other microorganisms that feed on waste.��  Tran added, ��The biosolids generated create a significant volume of wet-solid waste that must be disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner�� and ��After considering a variety of options, the City and CH2M determined that a combination of solar and thermal drying of the wet biosolids would be the best course of action.��  

The city now spends less money on hauling wet biosolids to landfills, and in the first six months of 2010, 499 semi trailer loads filled with 1,906 tons of wet biosolids were shipped to landfills.  In March, approximately 250 tons of biosolids, at approximately $15 a ton, were sold to the public, and the biosolids help improve soil nutrients and enhance the soil, which is another benefit to the environment. The City has saved approximately $336,000 since May 2011.

The Arkansas Research and Technology Park (ARTP) in Fayetteville garnered a City of Distinction award in the category of Technological Advancements.  Arkansas is blessed with many Arkansans with innovative ideas, but to move an idea to market there is also a requirement for innovative techniques to help the innovator move the concept to achievement of marketability.  When the idea is technology-based, there must be a means in place to cultivate cutting-edge, technology-intensive companies.  Fayetteville’s ARTP is the region’s only knowledge community focused on innovation and technology development in association with the University, and ARTP is rapidly gaining recognition as the center of such enterprises in the region. It is managed by the non-profit University of Arkansas Technology Development Foundation, and a role of the Park includes a collaborative effort to make research and development an affordable, local option.  ARTP stimulates the formation of a collaborative community of companies together with University’s faculty and students, linked interdependently in research and development and focused around the following core competencies: next generation electronic and photonic devices, biotechnology and related chemical, biological and food sciences, transportation and logistics, advanced materials and manufacturing, database, software and telecommunications; and applied sustainability.  

The Technology Park currently has approximately 33 affiliates and continues to grow.  From nanotechnology for use in energy storage and miniature medical devices, to biosensors for rapid detection of food pathogens and agricultural breakthroughs in bio-control agents to development pest management strategies, the areas of interest vary widely in the scope of the research.  Because of its connection to top UofA researchers in several technology fields, the ARTP offers an advantage for innovators selected to join the Park.  ARTP is where new ideas are fostered affordably and with access to necessary equipment so the ideas may be discovered, invented and given their first break.  University of Arkansas Technology Development Foundation President Phil Stafford stated, ��For years, I’ve seen the UofA educate many fine young people in advanced technologies, only to have these young graduates leave the state to find the high-paying tech jobs for which they’ve trained.�� ��We want to give Arkansas’s best and brightest a place to work here in the state if they choose,�� Stafford added.