By Amaris Castillo
Dracut officials recently received a $205,137 grant from the state's Department of Energy Resources as part of a commitment to clean-energy projects.
Town Manager Jim Duggan and Selectmen Chairman Jesse Forcier attended the Northeast Region Green Communities Designation event at Haverhill Public Library on behalf of Dracut, one of six municipalities highlighted.
Last December, Gov. Charlie Baker announced that Dracut and 29 other Massachusetts communities were newly designated as Green Communities for committing to an ambitious renewable-energy agenda to reduce energy consumption and emissions.
"I'm thrilled for the designation and sincerely appreciate the support that we got from the Baker-Polito administration," Duggan said. "We're looking forward to decreasing our energy consumption, which would give us savings that we can pass on to other municipal services, such as schools and public safety."
Duggan said the recent conversion of streetlights in town to LEDs will go toward the town's grant requirement to reduce its energy consumption by 20 percent over the next five years. With the grant money, Duggan shared plans for a possibility to bring charging stations for electric vehicles to Town Hall and the Parker Memorial Library, as well as the possible purchase of electric vehicles for use by different town departments.
He added that he is looking at other grant and funding opportunities that would help pay for those projects.
"I think it's a fantastic thing for the town," Forcier said. "I think it's a reinvestment in our dedication to becoming more environmentally conscious. The reason why this money was given to us is because we made a commitment to lower our (carbon) footprint by 20 percent, and it was an honor to join 240 other communities across the commonwealth in this."
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said in a statement said the Baker administration is proud to support the Green Communities program.
"The commonwealth is proud to partner with municipalities like these in the Merrimack Valley, who are making tremendous strides to reduce energy consumption and save money," Polito said. "This grant funding is another step we are taking to provide cities and towns across the commonwealth with the tools they need to continue to move Massachusetts forward as a leader in clean energy."
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