Borough of High Bridge awarded $20,000 grant to advance sustainability goals
High Bridge, NJ – The Borough of High Bridge was awarded a $20,000 Sustainable Jersey grant funded by the PSEG Foundation. Four $20,000 grants, eight $10,000 grants and twenty $2,000 grants were distributed to municipalities in fourteen New Jersey counties.
The grant awards will fund a range of projects including green infrastructure implementation, stormwater management and floodplain restoration; green business certification programs, buy-local campaigns, farmers markets and sustainable take-out container campaigns; community and pollinator gardens; energy efficiency upgrades and studies; educational campaigns focused on a variety of sustainability issues such as water conservation, food waste, recycling, and single-use plastics; general green team support and more.
“I am beyond thrilled to accept this grant award on behalf of High Bridge. This is the second grant our Green Team has received through Sustainable Jersey to beautify our Commons Park, which serves as the trailhead to the Columbia Trail and is enjoyed by many residents and visitors throughout the year. With this funding we will be taking another step forward in improving the direct access to Main Street from the Commons by further clearing the area, creating a stairway, and including effective signage to direct people to our wonderful shops and restaurants. I would like to thank Sustainable Jersey and the PSEG Foundation for this funding and share my sincerest gratitude to the volunteers of the Environmental Commission and Green Team for their success and service to our community,” said High Bridge Mayor Michele Lee.
The award along with borough-wide collaborations, will advance the establishment of the long-desired pathway that will connect the popular Columbia Trail and Commons Park to High Bridge’s Main Street. The pathway will not only promote the walkability of the town, but through green infrastructure, will control erosion and stormwater with the creation of a permeable stairway and rain gardens. Varied signage will connect visitors with local attractions and wildlife. The space is already home to a couple of mature native trees and will soon become home to additional native plants. On becoming an environmentally friendly, reflective, and educational space, the small space will have profound impact. “I am so excited to be part of the creation of a space which will not only support local businesses, promote local attractions, and foster sustainability but will also offer visitors enroute to our wonderful Main Street the experience of High Bridge’s wonderful wildlife,” says Green Team Chair Mia Baldwin.
“Congratulations to the municipalities that received grant funding today. I continue to be amazed by what is possible when elected officials, municipal staff, green teams and community members work together to create vibrant and sustainable communities,” said Randall Solomon, executive director for Sustainable Jersey. “These grants will build capacity as municipalities move sustainability programs forward.”
The PSEG Foundation has contributed $2.5 million dollars in funding to the Sustainable Jersey grants program for municipalities and schools. “The PSEG Foundation is committed to helping build sustainable communities by empowering and investing in the people, environment and infrastructure of the communities we serve,” said Calvin Ledford, PSEG director of Corporate Social Responsibility and president of the PSEG Foundation. “Supporting Sustainable Jersey and local municipalities, schools and school districts puts resources where they’re needed to positively impact the environment and local communities, having a lasting impact on neighborhoods throughout New Jersey.”
Proposals were evaluated by an independent Blue-Ribbon Selection Committee. The Sustainable Jersey grants are intended to help municipalities make progress toward a sustainable future in general, and specifically toward Sustainable Jersey certification.
In 2010, to ‘environmentally do more, and lessen the town’s impact on the environment,’ High Bridge Borough Council passed the resolution that led to the formation of The High Bridge Green Team. Since then, under the umbrella of The High Bridge Environmental Commission, the team has developed initiatives to promote environmental awareness, sustainability, and education amongst residents of all ages. The High Bridge Green Team has made significant strides within the Sustainable Jersey framework. With the support of the team’s efforts by High Bridge’s Mayor Michele Lee – former Green Team Chair, Council, Staff, School District, and Volunteers, the High Green Team has gained and maintained Sustainable Jersey Bronze Certification since 2018. In 2019, the team was awarded the Sustainable Jersey, Roots for Rivers grant funded by The Nature Conservancy. The award, part of The Nature Conservancy’s efforts to plant 100,00 trees within floodplains, supported the planting of 128 trees along the High Bridge portion of the South Branch of the Raritan River. The High Bridge Green Team is currently recertifying their bronze status and looks forward to Silver Certification
ABOUT SUSTAINABLE JERSEY
Sustainable Jersey is a non-profit that provides tools, training and financial incentives to support communities as they pursue sustainability programs. Currently, 81 percent or 458 of New Jersey’s 565 municipalities are participating in the municipal certification program and 373 school districts and 1024 schools are participating in the Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification program.
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