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Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano: Every Day Is Earth Day

Photo Credit: Contributed

YONKERS, N.Y. – Every day is Earth Day when you realize that we don’t own the Earth, we just borrow it from future generations. That’s why it’s so important that we treat our environment well. Here in Yonkers we’ve launched Green City, one of the most comprehensive – and successful – energy initiatives of any city in the state.

Residents will notice that street lights in Yonkers are a little brighter nowadays. That’s because, street by street and lamp post by lamp post, we replaced more than 11,000 old, inefficient bulbs with new LEDs.  The project is not just green, it’s saving green. Over the next ten years the new LED bulbs are expected to save taxpayers $18 million in energy costs. And we’re not stopping there. This year the Parking Authority will install LED lights in its garages.

We’ve known for years that buildings are one of the biggest consumers of energy, so last year we decided to do something about it. We partnered with the New York Power Authority to upgrade nine City buildings – everything from new boilers to lighting systems – to cut costs and our carbon footprint. But energy upgrades at municipal builders are only part of the solution. We want to encourage the private sector to go green too. That’s why we enacted a new Green Buildings law. It’s not just another mandate, but a carrot (versus stick) approach to encourage commercial and residential developers to construct and renovate properties under sustainable standards.

Last year Yonkers became the first City in New York to establish a Styrofoam recycling program, and in just two months residents in Yonkers recycled the equivalent of 600,000 cups of coffee. You can drop off your Styrofoam – take-out trays, foam packing and any product bearing the #6 designation – at the Yonkers Recycling Center (735 Saw Mill River Road).

Just this past Saturday we kicked off Earth Week with our annual Yonkers Clean-Up Day at the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail. Thanks to the 300-plus volunteers that joined us, mostly Yonkers Public School students, we cleared 27,000 pounds of garbage, leaves and debris from the trail.

It’s clear that in Yonkers, we’re no strangers to making a big impact. One of the most impactful green projects has been the nationally-recognized daylighting of the Saw Mill River. This week we released renderings of the third phase of the daylighting project (take a look at some photos). Over the summer and fall we’ll transform a once-empty row of storefronts into the third daylighted river park in Yonkers. It will provide new green space for our residents and help spur further development in the City.

The Earth is everyone’s backyard. Yonkers knows that, and I’m so proud to join you in building a greener, more sustainable city.

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