My Turn/Hazard: Impressive progress made in Greenfield well-being


Published: 8/7/2016 3:50:11 PM

The Sustainable Greenfield Implementation Committee has been charged to measure progress toward the goals set out in our master plan. In reviewing progress over the past six months, we think that you will agree that it is most impressive!

Greenfield has made significant progress toward improving our downtown and the health and well-being of community members, as well as making our community more resilient.

As noted by Rachel Katz, co-owner of Greenfield Gallery & Fine Printing, in an interview in the Valley Advocate, the arts and other expansions are making Greenfield’s downtown more vibrant!

The Arts Block now offers entertainment on weekdays as well as weekends, Greenfield Gallery added a frame shop, Magical Child has a new owner and expanded offerings, Franklin Community Co-op expanded to 170 Main St., and The Dreamboat Health Collective, Heart of Paris and Mimosa Thrift Shop have opened. The town is also becoming more colorful with the addition of new murals and painted meters.

Additionally, the Toyota/Ford dealership opened its new $7.4 million sales and service building, and the Meadows Golf Course and Restaurant is now open for lunch and supper as a full-service family restaurant seven days a week.

In addition to a more vibrant downtown, the well-being of our community has been enhanced by investments in housing, parks, and improved health, food and transportation services.

Some other things: A beautiful new kids’ train has been added to the Greenfield Energy Park that offers exercise and endless delight to toddlers, pre-schoolers and their parents.

Franklin Regional Transit Authority (FRTA) is offering expanded evening service.

Community Builders completed Phase One of its $70 million rebuild of Leyden Woods, and permanent housing has been found for almost all of the families in transition staying in Greenfield hotels.

In our schools, better food, composting and a new program that helps students resolve conflict through peer communication and mediation are all contributing to their well-being.

Breakfast in the classroom is now offered in our middle school and most of our elementary schools. Madison Walker, the food service director, is bringing more fresh, locally-grown food to schoolchildren through a partnership with Just Roots and the Harvest of the Month program. A three-year effort has brought composting to our schools, which diverts 75 percent of cafeteria waste to Martin’s Farm and teaches young people good habits.

In May, Greening Greenfield gave Carole Collins, town director of Energy and Sustainability, an award for her work to cut fossil fuel use and save money while improving town buildings.

Demonstrating that protecting the environment and saving money go hand-in-hand, Carole reports that over the past four years, Greenfield has saved over $2 million on utility bills and expects to save almost a half a million dollars each year going forward. Recent improvements include adding ceiling insulation to Newton Street School while putting on a new roof and upgrading gymnasium lighting to cut energy use and maintenance bills. Energy-efficient windows are also being added at the Green River School.

The most visible accomplishment at Town Hall to date is the town’s new website, which makes it easier for citizens to look at government processes. It also has a calendar that includes events happening throughout the community, a 311 service to report problems and expanded “Code Red” services that better connect us to the National Emergency Broadcast System.

Looking to the future, the Town Council has made decisions that have set the stage for improving all our lives. Budgetary commitments include building a Community/Senior Center on Davis Street, getting Greenlight up and running to bring broadband to town by the spring of 2017 and making our drinking water system and sewer system more secure.

Additionally a “Complete Streets” policy was adopted, highlighting the Town’s vision of a “multi-modal” community with streets that are safe for bikers, public transit users and walkers in addition to automobiles. A new Tree Ordinance supports Sustainable Greenfield’s goal of increasing the town’s tree canopy to make the town more beautiful, cooler and more walkable in the summer.

For more details on this report, go to the Sustainable Greenfield Implementation Committee’s page on the town website or “friend” us on Sustainable Greenfield’s Facebook page.

Nancy Hazard is a member of the Sustainable Greenfield Implementation Committee (SGIC).


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