As part of the city’s green initiatives, White Plains has partnered with Chevy Equinox.
On April 16 at one of the liveliest press events of his 12-year tenure, Mayor Joseph M. Delfino at the city’s community gardens in bucolic Baldwin Farm launched the city’s new “Greening White Plains” website, and announced a day-long environmental festival entitled, “Clean & Green: White Plains.”
“The website’s user-friendliness belies its exhaustive comprehensiveness,” Delfino said. “There seems to be volumes of information that we’ve collected to put an invaluable resource at our community’s fingertips.”
The homepage at www.cityofwhiteplains.com/green includes three major sections specific to White Plains’ businesses, households and youth, and how they can lower the city’s carbon footprint. A fourth section outlines the myriad of initiatives that White Plains has, and continues to, put into practice to “green White Plains.” The fifth section, located on the homepage in a central green star, accepts green ideas and projects posted from youth, business and household categories. “Every three months, I will present a Green Star Award for the winning entry from each category, as judged by the members of my Green Technology Committee,” the mayor said.
The business education portion of the “Clean and Green: White Plains” event was held on Saturday, May 30, 2009 at The White Plains Performing Arts Center and featured panel discussions for business owners, developers and municipal leaders that included experts in environmental law, smart growth development, and green-oriented environmental consultants.
The outdoor portion of the event, which ran into the afternoon, included an educational and vendor expo for the public.
Mayor Delfino also introduced “Greening White Plains’” two mascots, the costumed characters “Mr. Greenie,” in his small high top sneakers, and “Carbo,” whose large shoe size is indicative of his carbon footprint. The characters were created to teach the city’s children about environmental balance and conservation practices.
In addition, members of the City of White Plains’ Youth Department’s Greening Project were on site at their two garden plots, tending to their vegetable crops. The children presented Anthony Goncalves, founder and chef of Peniche and 42, with their commitment to provide his restaurants with their fresh, locally grown produce.
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Richard Kessel, president and CEO of the New York Power Authority; Architect Michael Divney, Mayor’s Green Technology Committee; and Elizabeth Silleck, lead organizer of “Clean and Green: White Plains” also spoke at the event.
“The City of White Plains has been a wonderful partner to the New York Power Authority over the years,” Kessel, said. “Our partnership with the city extends to a broad range of innovative electric vehicle programs and more than $3 million in energy efficiency initiatives at sites such as the White Plains Library and public schools. Those efforts have resulted in annual savings on municipal energy bills of about $350,000 and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of nearly 3,000 tons a year. To date, we have completed 125 energy efficiency projects at 245 facilities throughout Westchester County, including White Plains.”
Through a partnership with the New York Power Authority the city welcomed its first hybrid truck.
“Clean and Green’s eco-collaborative approach is inspired by the system of interdependent relationships found in healthy natural ecosystems. We recognize that the most effective way to achieve everyone’s goal of environmental sustainability is to mobilize as many facets of a local community as possible, and draw upon their varying strengths,” said Alison Reynolds, Clean and Green Co-Organizer and Researcher at Pace University’s Energy and Climate Center.
The Clean and Green initiative is the result of a partnership among Pave University environmental law students, the White Plains Mayor’s Office, the White Plains Business Improvement District and the Federated Conservationists of Westchester.
Eco-collaboration came to life at the event when the Clean and Green partnership joined with the White Plains Performing Arts Center, the White Plains Youth Bureau, the Greenburgh Nature Center, ArtsWestchester, the Westchester Fairfield Joint Apprentice Training Committee, the White Plains Beautification Foundation, Cache Dance Studios and the Solar Punch Band to bring the public the exciting free event.
At Renaissance Plaza (the corner of Mamaroneck Avenue and Main Street) Clean and Green: White Plains’ Kids’ Corner provided an interactive animal demonstration by the Greenburgh Nature Center; a planting station, courtesy of the White Plains Beautification Foundation; eco-educational games organized by the White Plains Youth Bureau’s Greening Project; a presentation by the Westchester County Veggie Van; opportunities to explore alternative fuel vehicles provided by the City of White Plains and General Motors; and a demo of solar energy technology offered by Mercury Solar Systems. White Plains middle and elementary school participated in an environmentally-themed art contest, with the art being exhibited at the ArtsWestchester gallery on the corner of Mamaroneck Avenue and Martine Avenue.
On Mamaroneck Avenue, Clean and Green’s Adult Education Exhibit offered information on financial incentives to help local residents go green. Environmental law students explained and distributed information packets about specific tax credits, state grants and rebates written in an easy-to-understand, consolidated form. Also, Clean and Green’s Vendor Expo showcased businesses offering eco-friendly goods and services including alternative energy technologies, energy efficiency services, organic products and more.
Clean and Green also offered free entertainment throughout the event, with a professional DJ spinning popular music for everyone, as well as a salsa performance by Cache Dance Studio, and music by Solar Punch, a solar-powered rock band.
At the White Plains Performing Arts Center, Clean and Green staged a free panel discussion featuring presentations by experts in environmental law and business, designed to educate local professionals on why and how to go green.