Shorewood passes initiatives to make village go green
Sustainability planning begins with two resolutions
Shorewood — After nearly an hour of debate, the Village Board passed two new resolutions on Monday geared toward launching the Sustainability Planning Project, a proposal to reduce Shorewood's ecological impact on the environment and become an "eco-municipality."
The resolutions were unanimously passed after some discussion among board members regarding the possible failure to meet the requirements of the resolutions. Later, an alteration was made to one resolution to ensure it was viewed as an aspiration, not a definite goal.
The resolutions could give the village opportunities to apply for funds and grants from the state, possibly reaching upwards of $200,000.
The first resolution would demonstrate the village's support for ecological sustainability by becoming an "eco-municipality." The measure would establish a set of environmentally friendly principles that suggest things like installing new windows at the police building, new heating and air conditioning at the Hubbard Park Lodge and energy efficient lighting in the Village Hall and school district parking lots.
The second resolution declares that Shorewood will strive to adopt Wisconsin's "25x25" Program, a vision to generate 25 percent of the village's electricity and transportation fuels from renewable resources by the year 2025.
"Fortunately, communities here in Wisconsin and across the country are not waiting for others to get on board and do something," said sustainability consultant Lisa MacKinnon, who was hired by Shorewood's Conservation Committee to present the resolutions to the Village Board. "Many communities are showing the initiative and leadership, and they're saying, 'Not only can we not wait, we can't afford to wait for somebody else to deal with the effects of poor sustainability.' "
The benefits of implementing the two resolutions also go far beyond saving the environment, MacKinnon said. Shorewood can now apply for energy-efficiency related funds like the village's newest application to the state for more than $200,000. The village also becomes eligible for 25x25 Program-related grants. The only downside to adopting these resolutions, MacKinnon said, is there will be an expectation from residents that the village has to do the work.
Timetable too quick?
Some board members expressed concern about being able to hit the 25x25 Program's goals in 16 years.
But Jennifer Holpfer, a sustainability specialist at Eppstein Uhen Architects and member of the Shorewood Conservation Committee, disagreed, saying the goals will seem like nothing in 16 years based on how quickly technology for sustainability is changing.
Despite Holpfer's reassurance, the board changed the proposed resolution to say the village will "strive" to meet the goals of the 25x25 Program. Village Manager Chris Swartz justified the alteration, saying the board sees the plan as a goal and wants to avoid writing the plan in stone.
Swartz said the next step would be to develop a strategic plan on how the village could become more ecologically sustainable. Then, he said, Shorewood could regroup, whether it be in six months or a year, and adopt the plan.
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