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Town of Tonawanda plans for green projects -- and a contest

The Town of Tonawanda's commitment to being a green, energy-conscious community could add up to some green in town coffers, as well.

The town completed a series of actions -- including a discount solar installation plan, solar code training and the purchase of an electric vehicle and electric charging station for town use -- in order to be designated a Clean Energy Community by the state's Energy Research and Development Agency.

On Monday, Town Councilman William Conrad said they are just waiting for the official notification of the grant which would award the town $150,000 for its efforts.

The NYSERDA website has already given the town its designation.

Conrad said they have started considering some uses for the money if the town receives it -- which could include a new HVAC system, LED lighting for the wastewater treatment plant or solar cells on town buildings.

The town is also seeking a second NYSERDA grant which would be used to install two electric charging stations in Lincoln Park, which would be available to the public.

Conrad said they are still in early stages of planning, but they would like to work with the town's Youth, Parks and Recreation department to install the stations at Lincoln Park and turn the revenue into funding for parks programs.

He said this grant requires the town to contribute a matching share of $5,000 to $6,000, for the $22,000 in total costs for both stations.

Town Engineer James Jones said that while they were doing work on the path around Lincoln Park, town crews installed some conduit in advance so that path would not have to be torn up again if the town goes forward with the dual port charging ports for the public.

"These (stations) run by a charge card using an app with a refillable account," said Jones. "We can set the fee."

He said a person could go for a walk on the Lincoln Trail or into the Lincoln Park arena, while letting their vehicle charge up.

"You will be able to charge your car for a couple of bucks, as opposed to a tank of gas which will cost you $30," Jones said.

The town also expanded the environmental theme in its Energy Efficient Christmas Decorating Contest.

The Ken-Ton holiday event combines holiday displays with energy-efficient ideas, such as LED lighting, timers -- or even no lighting.

There is a special award for the best energy-smart design. There are also awards for most creative, most traditional and best overall theme.

Contest applications are due by Dec. 8 and can be found online at www.tonawanda.ny.us or at the Town of Tonawanda Municipal Building, 2919 Delaware Ave.

Judging will take place on Dec. 11, beginning at 6 p.m. and winners will notified by email and announced at the Dec. 18 Tonawanda Town Board meeting.

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