Southern Indiana

Clarksville is kicking off the first round of public meetings for its heat management strategy this week.

The town is one of two Hoosier communities, along with Richmond, taking part in the Beat the Heat initiative. The two-year program, which is funded by a grant from Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute, focuses on identifying and addressing heat-related issues.

“We want to know in the long term, not just thinking about how we’re responding to heat, but how are we preparing for it?” said Bronte Murrell, Clarksville’s heat relief coordinator. “And how are we mitigating it so we don’t feel as much of those future impacts of heat?”

Beat the Heat started last year with efforts to gauge temperatures in the community and the effects of heat on residents. Program officials and volunteers traveled throughout Clarksville last summer to gather data for a heat map.

They also conducted a public survey that garnered more than 150 responses, and held focus groups with high school athletes, senior housing residents and outdoor workers.

The findings will be made public for the first time at this week’s meetings.

“We took all of that community feedback and really spent the last month or so looking over it to understand the big issues people are dealing with,” Murrell said. “What are some of the strategies people really want to see when it comes to addressing heat in the community?”

Murrell says they’ll collect more feedback in public meetings this month.

Residents can attend an in-person meeting at 748 E. Lewis & Clark Parkway on Thursday. They can register for the March 21 virtual meeting at https://www.townofclarksville.com/residents/beat-the-heat/.

The second round of meetings is scheduled for April.

John Boyle is a corps member with Report For America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. John’s coverage of Southern Indiana is funded, in part, by the Caesars Foundation of Floyd County, Community Foundation of Southern Indiana and Samtec, Inc.

John Boyle is a reporter and editor at WFPL news focused on Southern Indiana. He is a corps member with Report For America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.