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Lewisboro Leadership Forum Brings Thinkers Together

LEWISBORO, N.Y. – More than 50 area leaders and activists filled the meeting room at the South Salem firehouse Thursday night for the town’s first Leadership Forum, an event designed to garner feedback and brainstorm ideas that will help make the community a better place in which to live.

While the forum had a definitive “green” bent to it with an overarching energy conservation theme – it was the brain child of the town’s Sustainability Committee – the topics discussed ranged as far as the town’s finances to its infrastructure problems.

The event was attended by an eclectic group that included members of the town’s various boards and committees, Chamber of Commerce members, representatives from the police force and fire department, politicians, and an array of energy experts and conservation/recycling specialists.

Town Supervisor Peter Parsons kicked off the forum with a presentation on the town’s finances and how it spends its money. He told the group the town needs volunteers to help it reach its goals and prioritize how its money is spent.

“We are trying to get some people who show they care about the town by what they’ve done and help us figure out where we want the town to go,” he said. “The town is not a huge spender. But are we spending in the right places? Is it too much or too little? That’s what we’d like to know.”

Heather Flournoy, a member of the Sustainability Committee, told the group the committee needs feedback from all its hamlets and myriad organizations in order to be successful.

“[The Sustainability Committee] develops projects and we need feedback and we need a conversation with the different sectors of town,” she said.

Mike Gordon, another Sustainability Committee member, told the crowd about the Energize New York program and the Northern Westchester Energy Consortium's involvement. Lewisboro is a member of the consortium. He said the town was seeking ideas on energy efficiency to take advantage of grant money being offered.

“The region has a $160 million grant for capital projects to put in place,” he said. “In November, we need to have a list of shovel-ready projects to compete with 15 other northern Westchester communities and see we what portion of that we can get.”

Neil Cutler, a recycling expert and member of the Westchester County Global Warming Task Force, addressed the issue of recycling. He explained the state's Zero Waste Plan, which calls for an 85 percent reduction in household and business waste by the year 2030.

The forum ended with a brainstorming session, led by Gordon, who called on audience members to express issues and ideas the town could consider and wrote them on poster boards mounted on the wall.

Some of the ideas and issues included:

  • Community gardens
  • Preventative maintenance on the infrastructure as it relates to storm water
  • Better parking access
  • Mass transit
  • Water clarity
  • Composting stations
  • Light efficiency throughout town
  • Making the town more bike-friendly
  • Town-wide trash pick-up

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