- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 29, 2015

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - Pierre is among five state capitals selected this year for a federal project aimed at more attractive and environmentally friendly development.

The Environmental Protection Agency, through its Greening America’s Capitals program, provides design assistance to aid cities with growth that improves the environment, economy and public health.

Pierre will get help with creating a more pleasant walking experience between the Missouri River and the Capitol by adding trees and garden areas and public art, according to the EPA. The agency has selected Sioux Falls-based Stockwell Engineering and Landscape Architects to help.

Other ideas include roundabouts to change traffic flow, designated bike lanes and changes to make it easier for pedestrians to cross streets, Stockwell landscape architect David Locke told the Capital Journal. Several community meetings were scheduled to gather ideas.

“We want to make historic business districts more vibrant and friendly,” Gill said during a recent meeting. “This is going to make a difference … in how we do our planning. We have an opportunity to set the bar higher and be an example for other cities in the state.”

The EPA runs the program with help from the federal departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development. The other four state capitals selected for the program this year are Austin, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Carson City, Nevada; and Richmond, Virginia.

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