Sustainability Assessment Reveals Meridian Township is "Making Good Progress"

Sustainability Assessment Reveals 
Meridian Township is

MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - Wayne Beyea of the Michigan State University School of Planning, Design and Construction presented his sustainability assessment of Meridian Township to the Township Board at their March 3rd meeting.

According to Beyea, Meridian Township falls in the middle range of sustainable communities. The Township scored a 217 out of 288, placing it in the "making good progress" category.

The assessment, which is part of the Mid-Michigan Program for Greater Sustainability, offered suggestions for the Township to improve livability, governance, environment, community and the economy.

Beyea's recommended actions to put Meridian Township in the highest level "green machine" category included adopting ordinances to promote renewable energy, fostering public-private partnerships and exploring the idea of a neighborhood council.

However, the biggest issue discussed with respect to sustainability was the possibility of adding more trees in between sidewalks and roads in Meridian Township.

These "street trees" could potentially increase the amount of pedestrians and cyclist in Meridian Township and make the community more sustainable, as residents would not have to consistently rely on motorized transportation.

"What I find personally is that if there are street trees between the sidewalk and the street, it is infinitely more comfortable to walk or to ride a bike," said Treasurer Julie Brixie.

Brixie said the Township has discussed the issue of adding street trees in areas such as the Grand River corridor or downtown Haslett with Ingham County officials and has not been successful.

Beyea said he believes an established, open dialogue between county and township officials regarding the street trees would be beneficial.

"For pedestrian safety and comfort, (street trees) is a key component," Beyea said. "So I think it just requires a continued dialogue on how it's being done elsewhere in Michigan."

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