Fairfield celebrates achievement as top-ranked ‘Sustainable CT’ community
First Selectman Mike Tetreau and the Sustainable Fairfield Task Force (SFTF) held a special ceremony to celebrate its recent recognition as a top-ranked “Sustainable CT” municipality and to also highlight the many successful sustainable initiatives that have been put in place to build upon the health and resilience of the Fairfield community and natural environment.
The ceremony, led by Tetreau and SFTF members Mary Hogue and Bob Wall, honored the numerous town officials, town departments and volunteer bodies who collaborated on Fairfield’s winning application last October for a “Silver certification” under the “Sustainable CT” initiative, which awards certifications to Connecticut communities that voluntarily meet high standards in a broad range of sustainability accomplishments. Over 40 people attended the ceremony that was held on Jan. 18 at the Fairfield Museum and History Center.
Fairfield was one of just five communities statewide to receive the Silver certification, the highest designation that can be achieved based on points awarded for specific sustainability actions.
“For years, community sustainability and environmental preservation have been deeply woven into our Town’s long-term planning, yielding highly tangible results, including significant annual Town cost savings from use of renewable energy,” said Tetreau at the ceremony. “We’re immensely pleased that these efforts have given us outstanding state-wide recognition - an honor that will only encourage us to redouble our efforts to keep Fairfield at the forefront of our State’s healthiest and most thriving communities.”
Other speakers at the event were Mark Barnhart, Director of Community and Economic Development who spoke about local economic impacts; Julie DeMarco, Director of Human Services who discussed initiatives helping senior and disabled residents; Kyran Dunn, Deputy Fire Chief who focused on climate vulnerability; and Bill Pollack, Fairfield Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee member who highlighted transportation diversity.
Fairfield’s application for Sustainable CT certification was compiled by SFTF members Mary Hogue and Bob Wall. Technical support for the application was provided by United Illuminating and University of Connecticut students under the direction of Dr. Amy E. Thompson.
Ms. Hogue said, “Town-wide collaboration and cooperation has been the secret to Fairfield’s success in designing and executing our sustainability initiatives. Bringing so many different parties to the table has made for a truly creative and goals-centered planning process and has also created many opportunities for contributions by individuals who might not have participated before in Town planning. In Fairfield, sustainability planning is genuinely top-down and bottom-up, which will continue to ensure that our efforts are responsive to the Town’s most urgent sustainability concerns.”
Fairfield’s successful Sustainable CT application details a broad spectrum of activities now underway, Town-wide, to enhance community quality and viability in areas ranging from clean energy and transportation to diverse housing, health of the local economy and vibrant arts and culture.
Among the accomplishments cited:
Building awareness of Fairfield’s rich history, cultural and recreation resources, and vibrant business centers, including the Town’s readily walkable downtown; and
Assessing the potential Town-wide impacts of climate change; and
Facilitating the greater use of home solar energy systems Town-wide via the Solarize Fairfield campaigns; supporting efforts by local businesses and nonprofits to tap state financing for energy efficiency improvements, and increasing use of renewable energy, including solar, in Town buildings; and
Enhancing the preservation of the Town’s green spaces and beaches, and maintaining efforts to safeguard the health of Fairfield’s key waterways and watershed areas, including Mill River, Rooster River and Sasco Brook; and
Sustaining and expanding Fairfield’s vital “tree canopy” and guarding against invasive species (plant, insect and aquatic); and
Supporting the viability and use of local food sources, including community gardens; and
Implementing “complete streets” policies to ensure and maintain Town roadways that offer safe and comfortable access for all users; promoting public transportation and greater use of electric vehicles, by both the Town and its residents; and
Supporting recycling and composting by both the Town and residents, and encouraging smoke-free and tobacco-free public spaces; and
Assessing Fairfield’s housing needs, including the need for affordable housing; and
Maintaining a robust communications infrastructure to keep Town residents informed and engaged regarding Town news and developments.
Many of Fairfield’s ongoing and planned sustainability projects are reflected in the Town’s Master Sustainability Plan which is now under development and details specific initiatives for safeguarding Fairfield’s natural and built environments, natural resources, and quality of life. The Plan can be viewed here.
The Sustainable Fairfield Task Force (SFTF), formerly the Clean Energy Task Force, provides support for Town practices and projects that can help Fairfield manage its growth to safeguard the health of its environment, ensure the reliability and economical use of its natural resources, and preserve the quality of life of its residents - today and for the future.
For more information, please contact Sustainable Fairfield Task Force member Mary Hogue at 203-256-9802.