Milton awarded bronze Green Communities certification

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MILTON, Ga. — The city of Milton was recently awarded a bronze-level Green Communities Certification from the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC).

About four years ago, the Milton Grows Green committee, a group of Milton citizens, began thinking about how Milton could attain a Green Communities certification from ARC.

Two years ago, City Planner Michele McIntosh-Ross began working with Sustainability Coordinator Cindy Eade and the Milton Grows Green committee to accomplish the goal.

The group began compiling detailed documentation, as well as encouraging the city council to approve resolutions and change and write policies. Many city departments were involved.

“It was just so much more comprehensive than we ever thought,” said Eade.

The application was submitted to ARC in May. Over the summer, Milton was asked to include additional information, and in late October they got word that Milton had achieve bronze status. The city was presented the award recently at an ARC board meeting.

“It’s a feel-good type of award,” said McIntosh-Ross. “You do have to have a very strong sustainable project to get the award.”

Milton is the first new North Fulton city to receive the distinction. Requirements were satisfied across several areas including water and energy efficiency, recycling and waste reduction, land use, education, transportation and trees and greenspace.

Milton was also recently recognized by the Clean Air Campaign for offering its city employees alternate commuting options. Having this programming in place also satisfied requirements for the Green Communities certification. In addition, Milton is the only participating municipality to be recognized by ARC for its forest master plan, the Milton Tree Inventory, Assessment and Management Plan, made possible by a $20,000 grant from the Georgia Forestry Commission through their Urban and Community Forestry Grant program in 2011. The plan documents the over 3,500 sites in Milton containing more than 10,000 trees. This plan will be used to keep Milton’s forests for future generations. This project was applied toward Milton’s Green Communities application.

There are two other Green Communities distinctions: silver and gold. The city plans to keep working on its environmental efforts and apply again to receive one of those distinctions. In three years, ARC will audit Milton’s sustainable programming and recertifies the city if it is still in compliance. The city is currently working toward becoming a National Wildlife Federation Habitat Community, which will be able to be credited toward the next Green Communities certification level.

“We plan to continue to work on measures,” said McIntosh-Ross.

“The thing that has impressed me is that everyone is on board,” said Jack Lindon, volunteer co-chair of Milton Grows Green. “The mayor and city council have been very supportive. Everyone here is proud of Milton.”