Brighton recently became the first town in Monroe County and only the 22nd municipality in the entire state of New York to be certified as a Climate Smart Community by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.
This is a significant achievement for Brighton and reflects our commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate, thereby setting an example for the entire community and reducing costs for taxpayers. Certification will help make Brighton eligible for training and other resources as well as improve the chances for receiving certain sustainability grants from the state.
Among the many steps the town of Brighton has taken to earn recognition as a Certified Climate
Smart Community is having a Sustainability Oversight Committee, made up of community volunteers with expertise in science and sustainability. The committee reviews and assesses sustainability initiatives and makes budget and capital improvement recommendations designed to reduce our carbon emissions.
Accurate data helps us determine whether we are reducing emissions. To that end, we have taken an inventory of carbon usage as a starting point for analysis and then followed that up with regular benchmarking of energy use in town government buildings. That benchmarking analysis shows we have already significantly reduced greenhouse gases generated from energy use in town facilities.
The Bike-Walk Brighton Plan has led to an active trail and sidewalk construction program and has encouraged active transportation as an alternative to vehicle use. The Brickyard Trail and our first bicycle boulevard have already had an impact; in the coming year, we expect to complete the Highland Crossing Trail in partnership with the city of Rochester and build sidewalks to close gaps in our sidewalk system, in many cases at no cost to taxpayers, thanks to incentive zoning projects.
The Brighton Farmers Market is another sustainability asset for the community. Located in a walkable location, with a mandate to sell only locally produced foods and other products, the farmers market offers residents of Brighton an alternative to supermarket products that may be shipped from thousands of miles away. It also serves as a venue for community programs and education that promote sustainability, including the R Community Bikes Bike, Take Back Day, sponsored by Brighton Rotary Club, the annual Energy Fair and organic composting and recycling opportunities. The award-winning Monroe Avenue, Green Infrastructure Project also serves to encourage cyclists and pedestrians to use Monroe Ave. and it has improved important watersheds in the heart of Brighton.
Sustainability is a core value in Brighton and I am pleased that our sustainability efforts have been recognized by the DEC. Going forward, we will continue to find ways to reduce the production of greenhouse gases and keep Brighton as an example for environmental stewardship across the State.