In a continuation of New Rochelle’s GreeNR sustainability plan, and building upon the enhanced green requirements of the new Downtown Overlay Zone (DOZ) amendments, the City of New Rochelle is now taking steps to promote environmentally conscious and sustainable landscaping practices. Together with Sustainable Westchester, American Green Zone Alliance (AGZA), and Quiet Communities Inc. (QCi), the City will work to create programs that will improve air quality and the quality of life and health of residents and public workers, create healthier eco-systems for plants and pollinators, promote social equity, and help municipalities and businesses generate long-term savings. As a result of this partnership, New Rochelle has received approval for $210,000 in grant funding from the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) Clean Energy Communities program to achieve these goals.
The components of the program include:
- A Strategic Planning process that will involve stakeholder meetings to collaboratively and effectively lay the foundation for timely and diligent implementation of the overall project.
- A municipal AGZA-certified Green Zone® program that will start by transitioning landscape maintenance at three sites managed by the City’s Department of Parks and Recreation from gas-powered landscape equipment to sustainable electric alternatives, and certifying the sites as AGZA Green Zones®.
- A commercial program that will help local businesses facilitate similar transitions in their equipment through education, training, certification, and equipment rebates.
- A residential program that will offer rebates and education to help residents incorporate healthy land care practices; and encourage the establishment of residential AGZA Green Zones as sustainable land care models.
Local elected officials, agencies and environmental leaders applauded the City’s efforts to transition from fossil-fuel powered leaf blowers, lawn mowers and trimmers that have proven to be detrimental to environmental health as well as the local ecosystem.
“Through this new partnership, unanimously supported by City Council, New Rochelle will launch a comprehensive program that will enable us to work collaboratively with residents and businesses, and position small local landscapers to help lead the transition to sustainable landscaping practices,” said New Rochelle Deputy Mayor Sara Kaye. “I am excited for the opportunity for New Rochelle to lead by example and create a model for the region of how to move away from harmful gas-powered equipment by implementing a program that will bring many health benefits, promote social equity, and improve our environment, while balancing the obstacles municipalities, residents, and small businesses may face during this transition.”
“New Rochelle is setting a new standard for municipalities looking to make a broad and enduring transition away from fossil fuel-powered land care,” added QCi’s president, Jamie Banks.
“New Rochelle is proud to be a leader in municipal green policy,” said Vin Parise, Commissioner of New Rochelle Department of Parks and Recreation. “Highlighting the importance of clean air is critical to promoting a healthy environment, and City departments leading that effort illustrates our strong commitment to creating a more sustainable future for neighborhoods across New Rochelle.”
“At the center of this effort is making critical progress in mitigating climate change at all levels of government and the community,” said Nina Orville, Executive Director for Sustainable Westchester. “New Rochelle is leading by example, and we are proud to help them expand their commitments to improving the environment.”
Sustainable Westchester is a nonprofit consortium of Westchester municipalities facilitating collaboration to accelerate the adoption of innovative sustainability initiatives. Our goal is to develop and implement socially responsible, environmentally sound, and economically viable solutions that create resilient, healthy, vibrant, sustainable communities.
The American Green Zone Alliance (AGZA) is an environmental consultancy for the landscape maintenance industry. AGZA was created by former gas operators and business owners who decided to seek a more sustainable path for maintenance practices. AGZA works with state and county agencies, municipalities, academic institutions, and private industry to help facilitate and transition to lower impact technologies and operations to meet the challenges of improving worker health, air and noise pollution, and overall quality of life enhancement for neighborhoods and communities nationwide.
Quiet Communities (QCi) is a national nonprofit 501C3 organization dedicated to reducing health and environmental harm from noise and pollution. QCi's land care program is working to educate and help transition landscape maintenance to low impact practices through positive solutions to protect the health of workers, children, the public and the environment.