Potsdam town looking at ways to meet Climate Smart Community goals
Wednesday, March 14, 2018 - 5:28 pm

By CRAIG FREILICH

POTSDAM – Town government will be seeking ways to work with village government on establishing and meeting Climate Smart Community goals for improving energy efficiency and the resilience of the community’s infrastructure in the face of emergencies.

Town Councilor Sarah Lister was among about 40 people from Potsdam and the surrounding area who attended a workshop last Saturday on how municipalities seeking Climate Smart Communities certification can get support to improve their climate resiliency.

Lister said at Tuesday’s Town Council meeting that since both the town and village are seeking certification in the program of local efforts supported by state grants that both should work together on plans.

Councilor Ann Carvill said that clarifying the goals of the village and town could help ensure a coordinated effort that would benefit both.

The workshop, at the Potsdam Civic Center, was one of a series of webinars and meetings intended to promote "Green Business Partnerships" and Climate Smart Community efforts in New York villages, towns and cities.

It was led by Dazzle Ekblad, a climate policy analyst with the Department of Environmental Conservation, which is holding meetings like the one in Potsdam all around the state.

Fred Hanss, Potsdam’s Director of Planning and Development, said attendees included members of town and village governments across the North Country, local colleges and universities, and Canton-Potsdam Hospital, among others.

Hanss said that also attending were Erik Backus, a professor in Clarkson University’s Civil and Engineering Department, who is contributing to storm water management aspects of the local resiliency effort, and Alex French, Clarkson University Sustainability Coordinator.

The DEC is leading the Climate Smart Communities program, where a municipality can get certification in the program by pledging to work on a list of 10 areas.

“There are different incentives for different levels of participation,” Lister said, and points are awarded that will improve a community's score on CSC grant applications.