PLATTSBURGH - The city is on its way to getting a green makeover.
More than 30 community members and other interested parties turned out for the newly-formed Green Committee's first meeting of the year, held at city hall Jan. 6.
The Green Committee is the brainchild of Plattsburgh City Councilor Michael Kelly, D-Ward 2.
"When I started my campaign I made a pledge to make Plattsburgh the cleanest, greenest city in America," said Kelly. "And, this is certainly a step in the right direction."
Having only been around since last August, the intent of Tuesday night's meeting was to set an action plan for what the committee hopes to achieve. To do that, president Meghan Samolis came up with six key initiatives to make the city greener, including improvements to transportation as we ll as increasing home heating and cooling energy efficiency, green space, local political action, and recycling and waste disposal efforts.
Everyone in attendance at the meeting split into groups to come up with ideas to achieve each of the initiatives. From home energy audits to creating a bio-mass facility co-op, numerous ideas came out of the woodwork.
"That was our intent all along; to find projects that we could actually do and we did that tonight," said Kelly. "We laid the groundwork for all kinds of action. We all have the goal and the intent and the desire to make Plattsburgh a greener city and now we're going to do that."
Each initiative then became a sub-committee under the Green Committee, in which one goal was set to work on until it is achieved.
"I picture this committee as an umbrella and these subgroups underneath," said Samolis. "They [can] think more diligently on those initiatives and come up with other initiatives. And, they can all intertwine together."
"I would like to see the committee take on these key initiatives and introduce them into the community," Samolis added. "I want the community to become aware of this committee and become aware of what they can do for their community to become sustainable. I would just like to see things improve for the community and just in general."
As a nonprofit, grassroots organization, the next focus will be to get the funds for plans in the works.
"We don't have any funds," said Samolis. "One of our biggest things is going to be looking for funds - fundraising, grants, researching grants, writing grants, donations, whatever."
If interested in attending a Green Committee meeting or joining a sub-committee, meetings are held the first Tuesday of every month at city hall, 41 City Hall Place, at 6:30 p.m. Samolis may also be reached by e-mail at Meghan.Samolis@gmail.com.
"It's important [to be green] because the environment is important and this is where we live and this is where we have to grow up and our children have to grow up," said Samolis, "and we want it to be there for them. We want it to be environmentally-friendly. We don't give back to the environment, we constantly take; and we need to get away from that."