Rialto lures innovation in all shapes and sizes

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Some people talk about innovation. In Rialto, it’s part of our DNA, as we continually bring innovative strategies, solutions and technology to our community and build on a quality of life that’s unmatched in our region.

Over the years, we’ve come up with bold new funding opportunities to support essential services, creatively redeveloped the old Rialto Airport into a community entertainment and retail hub, and attracted innovative new companies and jobs to our city.

Among the more exciting innovations coming our way is the Rialto Bioenergy Facility (RBF), under development in the Agua Mansa Industrial Corridor. Scheduled to open next year, the RBF will be the largest food waste digester facility in North America, each day converting 700 tons of food waste and 300 tones of biosolids into renewable natural gas, renewable electricity and organic fertilizer.

Everything about this project screams innovation, from the technology to the environmental benefits to how it’s being paid for. Just last month, $117 million in tax-exempt bonds were issued by the California Pollution Control Financing Authority, which will cover most of the capital costs.  

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The partnership itself, between the City of Rialto and Anaergia Inc., speaks to our community’s growing stature as a true innovation hub. Anaergia, the global technology leader in recovering value from waste, was attracted to Rialto’s aggressive approach to bringing creative, workable solutions to challenges facing cities.

We’re proud to partner with Anaergia and the other public and private entities who are making the RBF possible: Waste Management, Republic Services, Southern California Edison, Anaheim Public Utility, Southwest Gas Utility, the Sanitation Bureau of the City of Los Angeles and the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County and Orange County. Funding partners include the California Energy Commission, the U.S. Department of Energy, CalRecycle, the State of California and private investment.

You can bet that other companies and cities are taking note of this exciting project and the relationships that have been built. As a city, we understand the value of public-private partnerships – and not simply from a dollars-and-cents perspective. By aligning the right people and organizations, we’re able to bring cutting-edge thinking to everything we do – in this case, one of the largest organics recycling facilities in the world. Moreover, as Anaergia CEO Andrew Benedek points out, this facility will offer a “sustainable and replicable way to meet the state’s organics diversion and recycling need.”

We’re not going to stop there, of course. As we’ve demonstrated with our successful Rialto Water Services project, we can and will use the financial benefits of these kinds of partnerships to reinvest in our community – upgrading our infrastructure, adding amenities and deepening the level of services we provide.

I can see a day when the land that now houses City Hall becomes a public-private innovation hub – a place where great ideas, emerging technology and financial partners all come together. Imagine a place where our students and young people can seek and explore bold new opportunities. Where businesses can test new ideas. Where scholars and innovators can solve the world’s problems. There’s no better place than right here in Rialto.

By Deborah Robertson

Mayor, City of Rialto

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