CLARKSVILLE, IN – Through a collaboration with Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute (ERI) and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, the Town of Clarksville was awarded a $121,900 grant to develop a strategy for relieving the impacts of extreme summer heat on the community. The grant is part of ERI’s new “Beat the Heat” initiative, which will give Clarksville and another Indiana town the opportunity to tackle this issue.
Over the next two years, Clarksville’s Beat the Heat program will study the summer heat’s effects on residents and develop local strategies to mitigate public health impacts. The program supports the hiring of a full-time heat relief coordinator, Bronte Murrell, who will work with community members and lead assessments that identify the most vulnerable people and hottest locations on high-heat days.
In the coming months, Beat the Heat will take several steps to understanding how extreme heat impacts Clarksville residents. A Heat Relief Task Force, which will include local leaders and community members, will be meeting regularly to advise the program coordinator and contribute to the initiative’s success. Clarksville will also be participating in a national campaign to map the hottest locations within US cities, with guidance and technical support provided by CAPA Strategies and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. On a designated day this summer, volunteers will take temperature measurements at different times and locations throughout the town, to create a “heat map” identifying Clarksville’s hottest and coolest locations. The Town will also share a survey and hold focus groups with residents to gain a better understanding of how extreme heat affects the community.
After developing the heat map and hearing public input on this issue, the Town and the Heat Relief Task Force will create a Heat Relief Strategy, which will the receive additional public input. Some potential strategies to combat the risks posed by heat include deploying 24-hour cooling centers, increasing tree and vegetation cover, using materials in building and infrastructure that reflect sunlight, and educating residents about staying cool when temperatures rise.
As Beat the Heat progresses over the next two years, residents can follow the initiative online at https://www.townofclarksville.com/residents/beat-the-heat/.
For more information about the Beat the Heat, please contact Bronte Murrell, Town of Clarksville Heat Relief Coordinator at email@example.com or 812-283-1437.