It might surprise many to learn that the town of Manchester is not already a state-designated “green community.”
It is, after all, home to Manchester Essex Regional Middle/High School, which has been nationally recognized as a “green ribbon school,” has a very active student “green team” — and whose colors are green and white.
And, at Town Meeting last spring, it became one of a handful of towns to pass a ban on thin-filmed plastic bags – even though it’s a ban the town is still waiting to implement, and one that some feel was misrepresented to local businesses and voters alike.
Yet the town has not, until recently, pushed for “green community” status — a designation that Gloucester, despite some apparent shortcomings, but with its wind energy turbines and other efforts, achieved in 2010.
So it’s good to hear Manchester officials committing to stepping up their push to gain the designation for their town as well, including through an audit of the town’s energy costs and potential changes.
The green community recognition isn’t just a worthwhile designation because it sounds nice. The fact is, it makes a recognized community eligible for sometimes significant energy and related grant funding. In Manchester’s case, that could bring a projected boost of up to $135,000. And that money could fund energy efficiency improvements that will especially pay off for taxpayers over the long haul.
The state currently recognizes 110 cities and towns as green communities. Let’s hope Manchester continues its push to become, if not 111, then at least among the next dozen. It’s worth the effort.