August 15, 2022

Old Lyme Receives Sustainable CT Silver Award at Conference of Municipalities, One of Only 12 Towns in State to Receive Award

Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold and Sustainable Old Lyme Team Chair Cheryl Poirier display the prestigious Sustainable CT Silver Level Certification Award they accepted on Tuesday on behalf of the Town of Old Lyme at the Convention of CT Conference of Municipalities held at Mohegan Sun. Photo by M. Noehren.

OLD LYME — On Tuesday, Nov. 30, Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold and Cheryl Poirier, who serves as chairperson of the Sustainable Old Lyme team, were honored at the annual Convention of CT Conference of Municipalities held at Mohegan Sun when they accepted the prestigious Sustainable CT Silver Level Certification Award on behalf of the Town of Old Lyme.

Old Lyme met high standards in a broad range of sustainability accomplishments to qualify for the prestigious Silver level certification, becoming only one of 12 towns in the state to receive that level of certification and the only one in New London County. All 2021 certified communities were recognized at the Annual Convention of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities. 

Sustainable CT is a statewide initiative that inspires and supports communities in becoming more efficient, resilient, and inclusive. The highest level of certification currently offered is silver — the Town achieved a Bronze certification in the Fall of 2020.

Asked how he felt about receipt of the award, Griswold responded by email saying graciously, “Cheryl Poirier deserves most of the credit for the honor Old Lyme received for achieving the Sustainable CT Silver Certification (the highest level at this time).”

He continued, “Cheryl and I were recognized during the awards luncheon of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities’ Convention at the Mohegan Sun Casino,” adding, “Numerous initiatives involving many different Town agencies helped the Sustainable Old Lyme Team win the three-year Silver status.”

Griswold concluded enthusiastically, “I have a feeling Gold is in the Team’s future under Cheryl’s dynamic leadership.”

Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold (third from left) and Sustainable Old Lyme Team Chair Cheryl Poirier (second from left) stand with other winners of the Sustainable CT Silver Level Certification Award. The award recipients were honored on Tuesday at the Convention of CT Conference of Municipalities held at Mohegan Sun. Photo by M. Noehren.

An Open Space Plan with its eye on sustainability, a town-wide Pollinator Pathway that encourages residents to plant native species, and a strong commitment to arts and culture were just some of the initiatives that led to Old Lyme receiving this highest level of certification by Sustainable Connecticut. 

In its application for Sustainable CT certification, Old Lyme demonstrated significant achievements in 12 sustainable impact areas ranging from inclusive community building, thriving local economies, and clean and efficient energy use, to vibrant arts and culture, clean transportation and planning for diverse housing.

Twelve initiatives in Old Lyme’s certification application have been designated as “Success Stories,” which are deemed strong examples of a particular action and are shared with municipalities pursuing certification.  Twelve Success Stories in the Town of Old Lyme’s submission include:

  1. Meeting the Equitable and Inclusive Process requirements for the Economic Development Commission’s 2019 SWOT analysis process, 2020 Walk Audit, and the 2021 Lymes’ Creative Arts summer youth programming;
  2. The Town’s Open Space Plan which includes prioritizing acquisitions, enhancing the local ecosystem, connecting open space parcels, offering recreation benefits, and ensuring the long-term viability of the Town’s open space.”
  3. Pollinate Old Lyme!: A collaborative pollinator ecosystem educational program and the creation of a pollinator pathway in Old Lyme which includes public-access properties;
  4. A commitment to the inventory and accurate promotion of the town’s tourism and cultural assets;
  5. Its overall commitment to arts and culture in the town, including promoting arts programming by the OL-PGN Library and the creation of an arts district partnership;
  6. The Planning Commission’s 2020 Plan of Conservation & Development, which addresses six key sustainability goals related to compatible physical development and stewardship, municipal programs and operations, community character and livability, economic vitality and resilience, infrastructure resiliency, and land use patterns;
  7. The Old Lyme Historic and Architectural Resource Inventory with over 200 properties considered historically significant; the Inventory can be used as a planning tool for community leaders;
  8. The Town’s “Complete Streets” improvements to the Sound View Village and its Gateway with new sidewalks and improved safety;
  9. The Town’s communications strategy for disseminating information including meeting the challenges of communicating with residents during the pandemic;
  10. The Sustainable Old Lyme Team’s mentorship of the Town of Lyme’s new Sustainable CT effort;
  11.  Assessing and sharing with the public the Town’s three-year-residential solid waste tonnage, with an incentive to reduce trash by 10 percent;
  12. Two innovative strategies and initiatives specific to the community: Lyme-Old Lyme Public School’s carbon-free initiative, and the Witness Stone project in Old Lyme.

“It was an honor for our team to submit this application on behalf of the Town,” said Cheryl Poirier, chairperson of the Sustainable Old Lyme Team. “While we worked closely with various boards, commissions, and Town departments to document their sustainable efforts, we also sought out opportunities to reach new goals set by the suggested actions of Sustainable CT.”

She noted, “The Sustainable CT certification process gave us the vision to work toward an even more sustainable community,” explained Poirier.

Future efforts by the Sustainable Old Lyme team will be to educate its community members on ways to reduce the amount of solid waste that is tossed in the trash. “Sustainable CT sets a challenge for municipalities to reduce its residents’ solid waste by 10% or more, and we are interested in meeting that challenge,” Poirier noted.

Sustainable CT has seen strong momentum and growth as a valuable, high-impact program.  One-hundred twenty-five municipalities have registered for the program, representing 86 percent of the state’s population.  Collectively, 64 municipalities, which is equivalent to 60 percent of the state’s communities, have earned Sustainable CT certification.  Certification lasts for three years, with submissions rigorously evaluated by independent experts and other Sustainable CT partners.  

The program includes actions that help towns and cities build community connection, social equity, and long-term resilience. The program’s action roadmap and support tools are especially relevant as towns seek practices and resources to promote racial justice, respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and address climate change.

Sustainable CT is independently funded, with strong support from its three founding funders: the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, the Smart Seed Fund, and the Common Sense Fund. Additional support is provided by the Connecticut Green Bank and a growing number of community foundations and other sponsors.

For more information, visit www.sustainablect.org.  

Old Lyme’s certification report can be found at this link

Editor’s Notes: i) Congratulations to all those involved in making achievement of this certification a reality. We recognize that an enormous amount has been undertaken in order to prepare Old Lyme’s submission and thank all the volunteers who have worked tirelessly on this project.

 

Comments

  1. Jenn Miller says

    Congratulations, Cheryl, teams and Selectmen! Looking forward to going for gold in 2022 with increased Region18 ingenuity.