The City of Beverly was recently awarded a $100,000 Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Action Grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs to complete a comprehensive Climate Action Plan. Beverly will be collaborating on this initiative with the City of Salem, Massachusetts. Through a regional Climate Action Plan, both Cities hope to identify and prioritize projects, which will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, into an implementable plan. At the start of the effort, GHG inventories will be developed for Beverly and Salem independently. From there, a joint plan will be developed to establish clear actions and methods to reduce emissions and mitigate climate change impacts such as extreme weather, inland and coastal flooding and sea level rise. Beverly was eligible to apply for this funding due to its designation as an MVP Community.
The plan will be based on the most recent climate data made available by the State of Massachusetts and the results of Beverly’s MVP planning process, and will be supported by Beverly’s new comprehensive master plan, which emphasizes a framework of sustainability in all aspects of the community. The Beverly and Salem Climate Action and Resilience Plan will include various tools to measure, monitor, and evaluate the Cities’ actions and efforts to respond to climate change. The fifteen-month project timeline will enable a broad, creative, and equitable community outreach and engagement process during the plan development. The engagement process will ensure a variety of opportunities for engagement for all members of the community, with a focus on bringing Environmental Justice neighborhoods and other underrepresented groups into the planning process.
“I want to thank Governor Baker and his administration for this important Climate Action Plan grant award that will help our two communities identify and develop comprehensive sustainability goals. We’re excited to partner with Salem on this important effort. For a long time, we have powered our communities and our lives with fossil fuels, and we need to do better. From how we heat and cool our buildings to powering our vehicle fleets and more, we burn gas and oil and emit the greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. The plan we develop will help us create an actionable blueprint for transitioning to clean, renewable energy sources. With this Climate Action Plan, Beverly and Salem will promote a healthy environment and continue to develop as sustainable cities for current and future generations”, stated Beverly Mayor Mike Cahill.
Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll commented, “I am very grateful to the Baker Administration and our legislators for making this funding available, and to our partners in the City of Beverly for advancing this important planning effort in collaboration with Salem. In our community, this regional climate action and resiliency plan will build on the important work that started in 2014 with our first climate change vulnerability assessment. As much as Salem is known for being one of America’s greatest historical communities, we are also forward-looking. Critical to that is ensuring that we plan appropriately for the reality of life in a world with a changing climate. As a coastal area it is even more vital that we take definitive actions today to mitigate potential threats that will be caused or exacerbated by climate change.”
The following are examples of how Beverly and Salem have acted to reduce emissions, mitigate climate impacts, and build resilience to climate change:
- Building a 5.5 Megawatt solar field on the former city landfill along Route 128 North by Brimbal Avenue
- Designed and currently building a new police station to be powered by clean energy – geothermal for heat, rooftop and parking lot solar power for electricity
- Promoting policies that concentrate needed new housing and economic investment in Transit Oriented Districts close to train stations along with complete street investments to improve walkability of downtown, leading to fewer vehicles per housing unit and fewer vehicle trips per person in these neighborhoods.
- Implemented 27 energy efficiency and renewable energy projects saving $770,000 and 25,000 metric tons of carbon annually.
- Designing two new facilities (Forest River Pool and Bertram Field House) that will be zero net energy ready, including highly efficient technologies such as, air source heat pumps, increased thermal envelope, LED lighting, and green infrastructure.
- Launched several new programs to encourage and support alternative transportation, such as bike lanes and multi-use paths, bike and scooter sharing, and the forthcoming on-demand City shuttle.