Cranford certified by Sustainable Jersey

CRANFORD, NJ — On Tuesday, Nov. 1, Sustainable Jersey representatives announced that Cranford met the rigorous requirements to achieve bronze-level Sustainable Jersey Certification. Cranford is one of the 198 municipalities in the state to achieve this status. The town was previously certified from 2010 to 2013.

“To become Sustainable Jersey certified, Cranford submitted documents to show that the town had completed the required sustainability actions,” Nelson Dittmar, chairman of Cranford Environmental Commission told LocalSource in an email. “The town was recognized for its Green Business Recognition Program and for the Township taking the Sustainable Land Use Pledge. They also established an Anti Idling Education Program. Sustainable Jersey has a long list of what they call actions that can be completed to achieve certification.

The members of the Green Team, who are appointed by the mayor, chose 18 actions that we thought we could complete. Some of them are actions that we started in prior years when we were certified. For example, we have an anti-idling campaign for which we placed 40 signs at curbsides around town warning motorist that they are in an ‘Idle Free Zone’ and they should ‘turn engine off when standing.’ We have a continuing education program for this at the schools.”

Cranford Mayor Andis Kalnins worked to promote environmental awareness with his Wellness Campaign. Several events were organized to promote wellness throughout the town. The town also certified businesses that achieved a certain number of environmental actions with the Green Business Recognition Program.

“There also was the mayor’s Wellness Campaign, which had a number of community activities to promote wellness,” Dittmar told LocalSource. “These included townwide runs, canoe races and a Family and Friends Wellness Festival to name a few. There is a Green Business Recognition program. We developed a brief questionnaire for each business in town. If they complete at least six of the actions, they would be certified by the program. Over the last six or seven years, we have certified about 100 businesses.”

There are also small ways in which the town works to help sustain the environment. Rain gardens and programs like Rake for the Planet are a few examples.

“There were rain gardens planted at the Municipal Building and at Hanson Park,” Dittmar told LocalSource. “There is an annual program called ‘Rake for the Planet,’ which encourages residents to rake their leaves rather using leaf blowers; The Township Committee passed a resolution in support of this program. The Police Department has a biannual Prescription Drug Safety and Disposal program and we received recognition for the solar panels that are installed on the roofs of the library and community center. The Environmental Commission reviews all applications that are seeking relief from the Planning and Zoning Boards and submits comments concerning the environmental impacts of the application.”

Ann Darby, who was responsible for Sustainable Jersey filing, commented on Cranford’s certification.

“I was thrilled to hear that the township of Cranford received certification from Sustainable Jersey,” Darby, of Cranford, told LocalSource in an email. “Cranford has had a long and proud history of environmental awareness and
responsibility. We have an active Environmental Commission and Green Team that not only worked on this certification but works diligently throughout the year to educate both our elected officials and our citizens about the importance of sustainable practices and the types of policies that can and should be adopted to ensure that we do our part to respect and preserve our environment. It is another reason why so many residents are proud of this special community.”

When contacted by LocalSource, Kalnins was unavailable for comment as of press time.