Former City Park and Recreation Commissioner Judy Noritake Wins Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award

Press Release Date: 
April 28, 2018

AlexRenew and the City of Alexandria Celebrate 10 Years of Honoring Environmental Stewardship
 

(April 28, 2018 – ALEXANDRIA, Va.) – Today, the City of Alexandria Environmental Policy Commission and Alexandria Renew Enterprises (AlexRenew) presented the 2018 Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award to Judy Noritake, a former chair of Alexandria Park and Recreation Committee and an advocate of preserving open spaces in the community. Representatives of AlexRenew, the City of Alexandria Environmental Policy Commission, and the Pickering family presented the award to Noritake at the city’s annual Earth Day event. 

A leading voice in the community for environmental conservation and natural resource protection for more than two decades, Noritake served on the Alexandria Park and Recreation Commission (PRC) for 22 years, spending much of that time as the chair of the commission. Her contributions to the City go well beyond the typical service of an advisory commissioner.

During her tenure, Noritake took a leading role in developing the Open Space Master Plan, helping guarantee the preservation of land and the creation of new parks in Alexandria, such as Potomac Yard Park, to meet open space goals. She played a critical role in the Jones Point Park renovation, the development of the Washington Street Urban Deck and Witter Fields, and the creation of the Citywide Parks Improvement Plan.

Noritake also lead the ongoing effort to restore Four Mile Run and neighboring parkland in 2001, to transform the stream from a sterile channel bordered by construction fill to a natural stream with clean adjacent wetlands and public amenities that now draws walkers, bikers, and families to the river. She partnered with then-Congressman Jim Moran to obtain federal funds that would support community planning for Four Mile Run restoration. With citizens from Arlington County, she persuaded the City Council and Arlington County Board to convene an unprecedented Joint Task Force to create a Master Plan for stream restoration and community development along Four Mile Run, which was adopted by both the City and the County in 2006.

Since 2006, Noritake has continued to chair the Joint Task Force, shepherding the implementation of the Master Plan. Most recently, she has taken a leading role in the Underground Transmission Line Working Group to ensure that Dominion Power’s new transmission line from the waterfront into Arlington does not destroy public lands, and that Dominion provides full mitigation for the impacts of the construction.

Alexandria Renew Chief Executive Officer Karen Pallansch commented, “Judy Noritake’s dedication to preserving open spaces, service to the Alexandria Park and Recreation Committee, and commitment to sustainable community planning have cemented her place in history as an environmental leader in the City of Alexandria. In particular, her work to restore Four Mile Run and preserve nearby wetlands demonstrates her love for this community, as well as her vision for a sustainable future for Alexandria.”  

The Pickering Award honors the late Ellen Pickering and her lifelong dedication to City preservation and conservation. She helped create the Mount Vernon Trail between Alexandria and Washington, DC and urged the adoption of the City’s Open Space Plan. Mrs. Pickering also implemented the planting of 1,000 citizen-donated cherry trees during her tenure as Chair of the Alexandria Beautification Commission. She was a member of the Alexandria Sanitation Authority’s Board of Directors and served on the Alexandria City Council and numerous boards and commissions.  

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Alexandria Renew Enterprises (AlexRenew) is one of the most advanced water resource recovery facilities in the world, serving 320,000 people in Alexandria and parts of Fairfax County, and treating 35 million gallons of water each day. AlexRenew was established in 1952 with the chartered mission to clean wastewater and protect public health and the environment. Since operations began in 1956, it has worked every day to improve the lives and welfare of its customers and local waterways. AlexRenew has built the first reclaimed water supply pipe in Alexandria, reusing 1.4 billion gallons of water on site to support plant processes and saving almost $3 million in purchased drinking water expenses and preventing nutrients from going back into the Chesapeake Bay.