Region sustainability group seeks input

T he public is invited to attend the second round of regional sustainability workshops, which will take place in and around the capital region in early October. Community residents from a wide range of fields and expertise are encouraged to attend. The goal of these facilitated workshops is to prioritize the hundreds of strategies, ideas and comments that were captured during the first phase of this project, which ended Aug. 31.

The closest local workshop will be Tuesday, Oct. 2, at the Fort Ann School District.  All workshops will take place from 7 to 9 p.m.

Others will be Monday, Oct.1 at Union College in Schenectady; and Wednesday, Oct.3, at Columbia-Greene Community College in Hudson.  Citizens are also able to provide feedback and input in an online open house through October 6. Details may be found on the project website at www.sustainablecapitalregion.org. All input received during this second phase will be considered by the technical teams for inclusion in the final regional sustainability plan.

Top ideas and strategies identified during the first phase of the planning process by workshop participants and online contributors include: Improved public policy on the changing climate; increased high-occupancy vehicle lanes, ride shares and public transit; better distribution systems from farms to school districts and inner cities; improved bike, trail and rail networks; reduction of rural/suburban sprawl and investment in vibrant city centers; and an expansion of “buy local” food and forest products initiatives.

Additionally, the public discussed eight focus areas during the first round of workshops. These include: water, food systems, land use and livable communities, waste, economic development, transportation, energy and climate adaptation.

A coalition of capital region local governments and organizations has received funding from NYSERDA to create the regional sustainability plan for the following eight counties: Albany; Columbia; Greene; Rensselaer; Saratoga; Schenectady; Warren and Washington.

The Regional Sustainability Plan is intended to inform municipal sustainability and land use policies, serve as a basis for local government infrastructure decision-making, guide infrastructure investment of both public and private resources, outline specific and tangible actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions consistent with New York State’s goal of 80 percent carbon reduction below 1990 levels by the year 2050, and identify strategies for adapting to the effects of climate change.

Project information also can be found on Twitter at @sustaincapreg ; or on Facebook at facebook.com/sustainablecapitalregion.

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