We face an amazing opportunity in Bridgeport.

Working in partnership with my administration, United Illuminating plans to install 9,000 solar panels atop a closed and unused landfill, as well as a 2.8 megawatt fuel cell. The site of this project is in the midst of a formerly rundown section of the city that has been transformed into Eco-Technology Park.

This project simply makes sense –  for our future, for our environment, for our economy, for our taxpayers and, most importantly, for our children.

Here are the facts: Once complete, Green Energy Park will provide enough electricity to power more than 5,000 homes using clean and green solar panels situated on top of the old city dump. The project would reclaim unused land and transform it into one of the largest solar arrays in New England.

But it is much more than that. It is smart public policy and good for our community.

This project will reduce our carbon footprint and make the air cleaner to breathe in the state’s largest city. In Hartford, in New Haven and in Bridgeport, the asthma for our kids is three times the state average. This is a chance to do something meaningful that will help future generations breathe easier.

Beyond that, this project will create up to 92 green jobs, further building on a foundation that has made Bridgeport a community where people want to raise their families.

Bass Pro will open creating hundreds of additional jobs, which will be a catalyst for the Steelpointe Harbor development that will transform the city’s waterfront with a mix of commercial, residential and retail development.

Further, Green Energy Park will generate up to $7 million in revenue for the city over the next 20 years.

This helps us beat back climate change, but projects like this also will help our cities experience population growth. To accomplish that, we need to create jobs, a goal which this project also accomplishes.

By turning an old and unused landfill into a hub for clean energy production, we’ll create 21st century jobs while powering thousands of homes with cleaner energy. And, by investing in cleaner energy our kids will breathe cleaner air.

Collectively, my administration has championed creating green jobs in Bridgeport and already helped create hundreds of jobs at businesses in the Eco-Technology Park, which serves as a hub for clean energy production. North America’s largest fuel cell is housed within the Park, and generates enough virtually emission-free energy to power up to 15,000 homes.

I view this as just the beginning.

The benefits of Green Energy Park are undeniable. Municipalities across the country are launching efforts to revitalize old and unused land in order to make properties more economically viable.

It creates jobs. It produces clean energy. It provides cleaner air for our kids to breathe. It helps reduce asthma rates. It grows our tax base. And, it’s proof that our city can heal from the sins of our past and move toward a cleaner and more prosperous future.

Bill Finch is the mayor of Bridgeport.

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