Tempe Awards 9 Projects Money From 'Innovation Fund'

By Mariana Dale
Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - 7:22pm
Updated: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - 12:39pm

Tempe City Council has chosen nine projects to receive money from a one-time $500,000 Innovation Fund.

The Tempe Grease Cooperative's Pilot Grease Trap Assistance Program, Sellah Park Pond Floating Island Project and One Touch Reporting App for Employees are among the funded programs.

The projects have diverse goals from helping people re-enter society after incarceration to learning more about the city's wastewater. The City Council considered 13 finalists out of dozens of proposals and evaluated their community impact, alignment with council priorities and budget.

Local First Arizona founder Kimber Lanning pitched the “Arizona Green Business Program” to help companies be more sustainable.

“Many of them had expressed an interest in reducing waste, energy use or lowering their water usage but many of them say they don’t know how,” Lanning said.

Tempe’s Grease Cooperative aims to help businesses replace their grease traps through short-term loans.

Cassandra Mac, management assistant for Tempe Environmental Services Department, said 15 percent of businesses that participate in the Grease Cooperative have degraded grease traps that leak fats, oils and grease into the sewer system.

“24,000 pounds of a highly valuable resource going quite literally down the drain,” Mac said.

The short-term loans would be repaid without interest and the money would go back into the fund for other businesses to use.

The money awarded ranges from $7,000 to $102,000.