The Rye Town Council adopted the Climate Smart Pledge in a recent resolution, which committed the town to:
1. Lead, organize and promote municipal and town-wide efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020.
2. Explore best practices and lessons learned from other municipalities and sustainability efforts.
3. Solicit public input and feedback.
4. Recommend actions that will result in the town and the community reducing their carbon footprint for future generations.
In congratulating the town on being named to the Climate Smart Communities program, NYS DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “This is an all-hands-on-deck moment in history. Climate change is affecting each of us and demands the attention of every government body, every business, and every citizen.” Becoming a Climate Smart Community is the latest step in revitalizing the Town Council’s Sustainability Committee, first formed in 2014, and now led by Councilman Tony Baxter. The new Sustainability Committee includes local constituents from all of the town’s municipalities who are working together to help fulfill the Climate Smart Pledge. “This pledge builds momentum toward our efforts to
address the town’s sustainability, and will help put us on a course to reduce the impact that the town has on the environment,” Baxter said. To date, the town has already made great strides towards increasing sustainability by being awarded $16,000 in NYS DEC rebate funding for an Electric Vehicle Charging Station to be installed at Crawford Park, and by joining the Energize NY Commercial Program, which will help commercial property owners to make energy efficient and clean energy upgrades to buildings. The Climate Smart Communities program will also provide free tools and technical assistance to help Rye to increase its sustainability and economic development. “Becoming a Climate Smart Community puts the town of Rye in the company of other forward-thinking communities across the state who are seeking to reduce their carbon footprint and conserve resources while helping taxpayers to save money, said Rye Town Supervisor Gary J. Zuckerman.
Our town nestles in a valley in the background of which lie the picturesque hills and dales of Westchester County. Our Town of Rye borders on Long Island Sound bordering on Connecticut at the gateway of New England within convenient commuting distance from New York and in the metropolitan area. While we started with the Boston Post Road running close to the sound and constituting our main highway, a toll road along which passed the horse-drawn stages, modern parkways and paved highways over which pass speedy motor vehicles now link our Town to all the cities, towns and villages of this great country of ours.
We started as a small settlement on Manursing Island, then developed Poningo Neck, which now is the business section of the City of Rye, and the Saw Pit, which now is Port Chester on the Byram River, with paths leading to various parts of the town. The Post Road, King Street, and the Grace Church Street were among some of our earliest carriage paths. Water transportation and stagecoach were the sole links the early settlers had with the outside world. The young settlement known as Saw Pit, so named from the saw pits then in use, continued as such until it outgrew this homespun name and became Port Chester by incorporating as a village in 1868 signifying a sea port which remains to this day.
Early life in the settlement was strenuous. Attacks by Indians and severe winters were a deterrent to these early settlers. Farming, fishing, logging, and trading were the principal occupations. At Saw Pit, logs were cut for use in shipbuilding operations. Our town had no improvements in those days and homes were simple and crude. The seed sown by these early settlers was nurtured and grew to the present day when we enjoy the modern conveniences of our times.
For more information about the Town of Rye and early settlement, see Chronicles of a Border Town by Charles Washington Baird.