By Mary C. Marvin, Mayor of Bronxville
Jun. 26, 2019: Mary Liz Mulligan has stepped down after ten years of exemplary leadership and tireless effort as chair of our Village Green Committee and passed the reins to committee member Ellen Edwards.
The changing of the guard prompted me to pause and recap what we have accomplished on the environmental front and where we as a village need to be headed.
In the last decade, the village began new green efforts by refurbishing village hall with a geothermal cooling and heating system that has proven successful on the economic as well as environmental level and functions virtually maintenance free.
We were also one of Westchester’s first communities to institute a seasonal ban on gas-powered leaf blowers and early on joined Hastings in a campaign to mulch leaves in place, saving thousands of dollars on costly vacuum truck removal.
We added many more trash receptacles throughout the village and have more on order to replenish the stock. In addition, we placed solar “Bigbellys” in strategic locations that can handle four times the trash thanks to solar decomposition.
The village also discontinued the use of all chemically laden fertilizer and pesticides on all village property, and the Bronxville School followed suit.
We were awarded a state grant to refurbish the Garden Avenue parking lot to install French drains to catch water cascading down the tennis court hill directly into the school zone.
In addition, we added trees in the lot to further absorb water and lower the blacktop surface temperature.
We are essentially doing the same things on the former Avalon lot that we purchased as well as adding a state-funded charging station, increasing the Vespa parking area and providing safer, stronger bike racks. We will also be adding charging stations in the enclosed Villa BXV parking lot by year’s end.
The road surface blacktop we now purchase is not 100% petroleum-based; rather, it is an amalgam of recycled blacktop.
Mary Liz Mulligan initiated a take-back day ten years ago and it gets more successful as the years progress. In addition to the Westchester County shredder, we collect all electronic devices – if it has a plug, we’ll recycle it – as well as bedding for dog shelters and even furniture.
We also applied for and won a state grant for a filtering system at our DPW site so oil from the trucks can no longer seep into nearby catch basins.
Our very active and generous garden clubs, the Bronxville Beautification Council and Boulder Ledge Garden Club, have partnered with the village to plant new street trees throughout the business district and shore up the banks near the rail station with plantings to prevent erosion.
Our Giving Garden, an offshoot of the Green Committee, is in the process of growing 500 pounds of chemical-free vegetables to be donated to neighboring soup kitchens.
We have also partnered with the Bronxville School on their research of the health of the Bronx River, which is rightfully of great concern to the next generation.
On the continuum, the village has been proactive in embracing environmental measures, but there is clearly more that we can do.
To that end, we are in discussions with Waste Zero, a national company that assists in local recycling of textiles.
Our Green Committee has also brought forth a proposal to start composting food waste, a model program started in Scarsdale and now replicated in 15 other Westchester Communities.
The plans for the new public works facility envision a much greener building in all aspects, including solar roof panels.
On the individual front, especially as it relates to the cleanliness of the Bronx River, small changes in habits will aid the effort. Chief among them is the tossing of dog waste bags into catch basins, which eventually reach the river and raise the toxicity exponentially. Just putting them in a trash receptacle would be an enormous environmental improvement. We also ask that you check your water hookups, as we are finding residential plumbing systems that are comingling sanitary and water conveyances, further adding to the pollution of the Bronx River.
We welcome any other thoughts as to ideas/initiatives to advance our green footprint.
Pictured here: Mayor Mary Marvin.
Photo by N. Bower
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