The city may have earned the bronze-level designation as a Climate Smart Community for projects such as a solar-power array, electric vehicle charging station, composting program and others.
With bronze under their belt, city officials believe they are well on their way to silver and perhaps, gold, as several other projects — such as brownfield development work — are well underway and done without spending taxpayer funds, according to Assistant City Manager Rob Richardson, who is also coordinator of the Climate Smart Canandaigua committee.
“If you’re invested in the community that you want to protect, it’s going to be a much smoother ride,” said Richardson, adding the state certification program is not just recognition for city staff and elected officials.
“It’s a recognition for everyone who lives here,” Richardson said.
A certified Climate Smart Community forms a task force and appoints a coordinator to spearhead efforts focused on reducing energy use and greenhouse gases associated with energy use.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who on Tuesday afternoon presented Mayor Ellen Polimeni with the certification during a ceremony at Commons Park downtown, said only 22 other New York communities have achieved this designation.
Hochul also gave a verbal “pat on the back” for what the city has already accomplished, in particular the city’s 20-acre solar array on County Road 46 and County Road 10, which itself was built where the old transfer station used to be and was honored by the New York Conference of Mayors shortly before going online in 2017.
The project is smart for the environment, good for jobs and great for saving taxpayers money, as the city will see $3.5 million in energy cost savings over 25 years, Hochul said.