Sustainable Greenfield Goals Achieved

Highlights Include Enhanced Services, Growing Creative Economy, and Community Beautification

GREENFIELD, MA – “I’m proud to report that Greenfield continues to make progress on the Sustainable Greenfield Master Plan. This important work improves the community and makes Greenfield a better place to live and work through upgrades to our parks, the downtown, and across Town departments, while at the same time reducing both costs to taxpayers and climate change emissions,” said Carole Collins, chair of the Sustainable Greenfield Implementation Committee.

“It’s all about making our town appealing to families and people of all ages from eight to 80,” said Christy Moore, director of the Recreation Department. “Over the past eight months, many park upgrades have been in the news. Citizens of Greenfield and visitors alike have enjoyed the new splash pad at Hillside Park, the new play equipment at the Greenfield Middle School, and the recently installed playground at Newton School.” Additionally, in late spring, improvements were made to the Davis Street tennis courts and the Town purchased a portable stage to support town events and activities, including the new “Movies in the Park” series. More than 54 percent of the upgrades were funded through grants or foundation money as a result of Recreation Department staff efforts.

Health and recreation opportunities in the community were also enhanced by the creation of bike lanes on Federal Street, and walking and biking safety education is now integrated into school PE programs. This curriculum is part of a collaborative grant program between the Recreation Department and the schools, which included 10 new bikes and helmets for Greenfield school children. And last spring, the Safe Routes to School Committee, the Recreation Department, and the Greenfield Bicycle Coalition joined efforts to host a bike rodeo, where free helmets were distributed.

Creative Economy Grows & Downtown Beautified

Greenfield Gallery & Fine Art Printing opened its doors in August, the Art’s Block is thriving under new ownership, Eggtooth Productions, theatre arts producers formerly known as Old Deerfield Productions, is now based in Greenfield, and El Sistema, a music program for income eligible children, was launched in Greenfield. All this was in addition to existing summer activities, festivals and programs, Artspace programs, and the growth of First Friday activities.

The Greenfield Rejuvenators, a collaborative effort of the Greenfield Business Association, Garden Club, Tree Committee and Greening Greenfield in collaboration with the DPW and the Recreation Department, continued downtown beautification efforts with the installation of more than 60 colorful light pole banners designed by Greenfield elementary school children, more benches, and flowers on the median strips. The Greenfield Police Department has also increased their downtown presence with a new satellite office located at 114 Main Street.

Support for Local Business and Those in Need

In Sustainable Greenfield, residents expressed the importance of a thriving local economy, and over the last year they have proved their willingness to step up to the plate and support their local businesses.

The community showed support for Adams Donuts when the bakery was faced with the challenge of installing a new $30,000 range hood, in addition to a community-organized “cash mob” event at the World Eye Bookstore that raised more than $15,000 to help the bookstore to pay bills and stay open. Additionally, Mary Walsh-Martel of Magical Child and others re-launched 3/50, a buy-local campaign, and the Meadows restaurant and golf course is back up and running.

The private sector is also stepping up to support food and recovery services. Franklin Community Coop launched the Food for All program, a program that offers member discounts to those who are unable to pay the membership fee. Just Roots launched a donor supported CSA, whereby families that are unable to buy a CSA can enjoy the benefits of weekly produce. Many also celebrate the news that part of the Lunt property is being renovated to become a substance abuse treatment center so the community can offer more services to those in recovery, and a vacant and previously contaminated site will soon be back on the tax rolls.

Reducing Costs and Climate Change Emissions

The Greenfield Department of Energy and Sustainability continues to reduce energy-related costs and climate change emissions. All of Greenfield’s street lighting has now been upgraded to energy efficient LEDs. Energy use, and therefore climate change emissions, has been cut by over 60%. The cost of electricity will be cut by nearly $70,000 each year going forward, and maintenance to replace bulbs will cost nearly nothing for the next 10-20 years or more. Additionally, the upgrades were successfully completed through grants and utility incentives, costing the Town very little to implement and saving the Town and taxpayers on future energy bills.

The most dramatic success was the Greenfield Solar Challenge, which is not only returning financial dividends to residents and businesses, but is also contributing to 0-carbon electricity for the community. As recently reported, the 58 new solar systems installed on homes and businesses brought more than $740,000 in tax credits and rebates to those who installed the systems. It is estimated that the total first year savings for participants is over $1 million – money that remains in Greenfield. Greenfield Light and Power is also now purchasing the certificates generated by these clean energy systems in an effort to support local renewable energy.

Enhanced Education

A survey of success would not be complete without mentioning that Greenfield 8-12 graders started the new school year in a state-of-the-art high school that took three years to build. It is built to LEED Gold energy standards, and is a delight to everyone who uses it.

Sustainability education was also furthered when Greenfield Community College received a $600,000 grant for scholarships and other efforts to support their Sustainable Agriculture and Green Energy (SAGE) program. Through this grant, GCC will continue to offer cutting-edge programs and play a leadership role in training people to transform our world into a more sustainable place to live. Additionally, fifth graders learned more about community service and sustainability through a new unit on water supported by Greening Greenfield and the Connecticut River Watershed Council.

Looking Forward

Other efforts targeted in Sustainable Greenfield are also moving forward. Buildings that generate as much energy as they use is now the new norm as the Town looks to design and build a new library and senior center. Greenlight was approved by voters in the November 3 election to bring high-speed broadband to Greenfield, and residents can take advantage of Greenlight’s pilot project today by accessing free WIFI connectivity on Main and High Streets. New initiatives are also soon to come from the newly re-established Youth Commission.

“Sustainable Greenfield has given us the roadmap to enable our community to move forward, and this is only the beginning,” said Greenfield Mayor Bill Martin. “The plan is a living document and we look forward to working with everyone to not only implementing all of what is outlined, but discovering and implementing new and exciting ideas that will make our lives even better and benefit the whole community. It is exciting to see how much we can do when we work together.”

The Sustainable Greenfield Implementation Committee meets monthly on the 2nd Thursday of every month at 4:30 p.m. The meeting is open to all. The Committee is actively seeking additional members and encourages interested parties to contact Carole Collins at 413-772-1412 for more information.

Calendar of Events
Wed, Feb 8, 2023, 1:00 pm
Wed, Feb 8, 2023, 5:30 pm
via Zoom (link will be posted on the agenda)
Posted to: City Council
Wed, Feb 8, 2023, 6:00 pm
John Zon Community Center – 35 Pleasant Street
Posted to: Public Schools