|By Tom Nash|
Two aldermen celebrated Earth Day last week by asking the Curtatone administration to create a task force dedicated to making Somerville more "green."
Ward 2 Alderman Maryann Heuston and Ward 6 Alderman Rebekah Gewirtz submitted a resolution at the board's April 22 meeting asking for the creation of the Green Community and Open Space Initiative, which would consist of aldermen and an appointed panel of experts who would determine how the city can be more environmentally friendly.
The suggestions mentioned so far include installing green roofs, which would retain stormwater and reduce the city's collective water bill, and beginning a composting program for residents.
"I'm thrilled to be moving forward with these exciting initiatives," she said in a press release. "Somerville's landscape includes 77 percent impervious surfaces, the highest percentage in the region. The task force we are putting together will move us forward as a city and bring together the most thoughtful minds to come up with specific steps to green the city."
At Thursday's meeting, Gewirtz noted the pays more than $11 million a year to treat stormwater runoff. With the city likely facing more state budget cuts this year, she said green roofs could be a way to start making up the difference.
"We'll be able to save taxpayer money, ultimately, with this (technology)," Heuston added. "I'm looking forward to working on this task force."
Colleen Butler, a PhD student at Tufts University studying biology who has worked with Gewirtz on the proposal, addressed the aldermen on what a green roof entails.
"(Green roofs) use very thin substrates," Butler explained, citing the roof of Tufts' Tisch Library as an example. "The main purpose is to absorb the rainwater - it's s a very simple strategy."