Windsor Locks is among seventeen Connecticut municipalities to be recognized this fall for achieving Sustainable CT certification. The Town met high standards in a broad range of sustainability accomplishments to qualify for the prestigious Bronze-level Certification. The highest level of certification currently offered is silver, which the community will work toward by 2023.
Sustainable CT, a statewide initiative that inspires and supports communities in becoming more efficient, resilient, and inclusive, announced its 2020 fall certified communities this week.
First Selectman, Chris Kervick commented, “We don’t celebrate securing SustainableCT certification because it gives us a nice plaque to hang up at town hall, certification means that our entire staff, led by our team leaders, has embraced the concepts and taken the actions needed to step up our game, and improve the manner and effectiveness of how we deliver municipal services to the public.”
In its application for Sustainable CT certification, Windsor Locks demonstrated significant achievements in actions in nine sustainable impact areas ranging from inclusive community building, thriving local economies, and vibrant arts and culture to clean transportation and diverse housing. Windsor Locks was recognized for actions or projects including complete streets work, business inventory, Eat Local Win Local program, CPACE webinar, open space acquisition efforts, Grove Street Garden, municipal official and board member equity training, Community Needs Survey, Emergency Response Resident Registry updates and other COVID recovery work.
“Windsor Locks took 16 actions in 10 categories for a total of 245 points. 200 points were required.” noted Jen Rodriguez, Director of Planning and Economic Development, who acts as one of the staff team leaders. “I love this effort, mostly because of the way the various departments, boards and commissions worked together in unique ways in order to get things done. It was true teamwork.”
Co-leader Mandi Moore, Finance Director, was also glad to hear the news. “I’m extremely excited about the steps Windsor Locks has taken toward sustainability. I’m looking forward to working on additional measures that will continue to strengthen the Town.”
Moore and Rodriguez attended an information session in early 2019 and saw the benefits in becoming Sustainable CT members, including technical assistance and grant opportunities. Most importantly the program encourages collaboration and implementation of projects that create the balance communities seek between economic development and preservation, spending and responsibility. The Board of Selectman signed a resolution to become a Sustainable CT Town just as the calendar turned to year 2020. Little did everyone know that the collaboration efforts would be as valued as they were as COVID 19 entered the State.
Sustainable CT has seen strong momentum and growth as a valuable, high-impact program. One-hundred twelve municipalities have registered for the program, representing 80% of the state’s population. Collectively, sixty-one municipalities, over 36% of the state’s communities, have earned Sustainable CT certification. Certification lasts for 3 years, with submissions rigorously evaluated by independent experts and other Sustainable CT partners.
“Congratulations to our newest Sustainable CT certified communities,” said Lynn Stoddard, Executive Director of the program. “They join a growing number of certified towns and cities that are demonstrating municipal practices that make our communities more inclusive, healthy, connected, and strong.”
The program is managed by the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University and includes actions that help towns and cities build community connection, social equity, and long-term resilience. The program’s action roadmap and support tools are especially relevant as towns seek practices and resources to promote racial justice and respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
Sustainable CT is independently funded, with strong support from its three founding funders: the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, the Common Sense Fund, and the Smart Seed Fund. Additional support is provided by: the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut, Connecticut Community Foundation, Fairfield County Community Foundation, Main Street Community Foundation, and other sponsors.
Windsor Locks and all spring and fall 2020 certified communities will be recognized later this year at the Annual Convention of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities in December. For more information, visit www.sustainablect.org.