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With the unanimous approval of her fellow Town Board members, Councilwoman Christine Scalera initiated the eastern United States first municipal park in becoming a Green Zone®. The Town of Southampton Green Zone will be located at the East Quogue Village Green in the hamlet of East Quogue. A Green Zone, certified by the American Green Zone Alliance (AGZA), is a defined area of land, such as a park, hospital, or school campus, where routine maintenance is performed quietly and emissions- free using electric equipment and manual techniques. More than twenty-five Green Zones have been created by AGZA on the West Coast. Quiet Communities, a Massachusetts-based non-profit organization, is bringing the concept to the East Coast.
According to Councilwoman Christine Scalera, “Creating Green Zones in our town’s municipal parks is an excellent way to demonstrate leadership in emission reduction and noise control.” Town workers had an opportunity to test some electric powered products and were enthusiastic about what they saw. Mat Mordente, crew leader at the town’s Parks Department, looks forward to ”exploring the use of mowers and hand held tools that would reduce or eliminate our exposure to the fumes produced by fossil-fuel powered equipment.” The project will be completed in Spring 2017.
The growing availability of commercial grade lithium battery powered equipment makes it possible to transition away from fossil fuel-based equipment. “Going quiet and emissions-free is beneficial for our health, environment, quality of life, and even our pocketbooks” says Jamie Banks, Executive Director of Quiet Communities. Although the upfront cost of commercial lithium battery equipment is higher, substantial savings from avoided fuel and maintenance will more than make up for it. Her colleague Dan Mabe, head of AGZA, agrees. “On the West Coast, we have proven that commercial sized properties can be maintained without gas-powered equipment at the same level of quality and at lower cost.” With Southampton as a leader, Quiet Communities’ New York Chapter head, Bonnie Sager believes that other towns will follow suit. “This is just the beginning of a movement on Long Island and New York State. We will reduce our carbon footprint and improve the health of our workers and our neighborhoods. We applaud Southampton town council for their foresight and leadership.” says Sager.