From Adrienne Houël, President & CEO of Greater Bridgeport Community Enterprises
Mayor Bill Finch welcomed a new green business, Park City Green, to the Park City today. He was joined by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) Commissioner Catherine Smith, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Commissioner Daniel C. Esty and Connecticut Department of Labor Deputy Commissioner Dennis Murphy. They spoke in front of an enthusiastic crowd of more than 150 distinguished guests who gathered for the ribbon-cutting and opening celebration.
Park City Green is a nonprofit green business developed by Greater Bridgeport Community Enterprises (GBCE) that will deconstruct mattresses and recycle the component parts. The development of Park City Green is a collaboration of Greater Bridgeport Community Enterprises and Family ReEntry, with support from the City of Bridgeport and CT Department of Economic and Community Development, and with the assistance of the St. Vincent dePaul Society of Lane County, Oregon and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The St. Vincent dePaul Society of Lane County is an internationally recognized expert in developing nonprofit green businesses to employ vulnerable populations.
Mayor Finch hailed the new green business as one that will create jobs in Bridgeport and welcomed it to the City’s Eco-Industrial Park. He praised Park City Green’s “triple bottom line” of environmental, economic development and social impact as the “right thing to do.”
DEEP Commissioner Dan Esty told the crowd that he came to Bridgeport today to “celebrate partnerships and achievements, and that today is both.” Referring to Greater Bridgeport Community Enterprises, he said, “I honor those who brought the idea to fruition and those who brought us the model” (referring to the St. Vincent dePaul Society of Lane County). Commissioner Esty continued, “Park City Green represents the three ‘Es’–energy savings, environment protection, and economic development.”
DECD Commissioner Catherine Smith presented Adrienne Houël, President of the Board of Park City Green with a check for $50,000, a grant for the purchase of mechanized equipment for the deconstruction process. She called Park City Green “the ultimate partnership in bringing environmental sustainability together with business success.”
A surprise guest was Bob Kaufman of Bob’s Furniture who brought with him the first large delivery of mattresses to Park City Green. Noting that Park City Green is filling an important need, he said, “Bob’s is excited to be part of Park City Green and to grow with it.”
Mayor Finch presented Founding Partner Awards to Greater Bridgeport Community Enterprises for “the vision and expertise to make Park City Green and its triple bottom line a reality” and to Family ReEntry for “inspiring community support and linking Park City Green to the re-entry community.” Certificates of Appreciation for their many contributions to this project were presented by Adrienne Houël, President & CEO of Greater Bridgeport Community Enterprises, to Tom Santa of Santa Energy and Jeff Leichtman of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council.
And to much applause from the standing room-only crowd, Adrienne Houël presented a special award to Terry McDonald, Executive Director of the St. Vincent DePaul Society of Lane County who provided the model, technical assistance and guidance for this project. She presented him with the “King of Green to Gold Award,” a miniature pile of mattresses mounted on a wooden base with a gold king’s crown on top.
Summing up, Adrienne Houël, President & CEO of Greater Bridgeport Community Enterprises, noted the long, hard road to get the operation up and running and the two years from idea to reality. She said, “It took extraordinary, diverse partnerships to get the job done.” She praised Mayor Finch’s leadership. She thanked Terry McDonald, Executive Director of the St. Vincent DePaul Society, saying, “He had the business model from Eugene, Oregon and support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He set out to find a nonprofit somewhere in the country that wanted to implement the model. And he found us, a small, hard-headed nonprofit dedicated to creating green jobs in Bridgeport. And the rest is history.”
Park City Green is a new nonprofit green business with a triple bottom line:
· It is an environmentally sustainable business. When it is fully operational, it will deconstruct 100,000 mattresses a year, removing 4600 tons of solid waste from the dumps and landfills. It will recycle the component parts: the cotton, foam, metal springs, and wood.
· It is a business that does social good by creating 20-25 new jobs for ex-offenders and local unemployed low-income Bridgeport residents, enabling their families to become economically self-sufficient.
· It will provide savings in mattress disposal fees to cash-strapped municipalities, hospitals, and universities throughout the region.
For more visit www.pcgmattressrecycling.org.