WILLIAMSTON, NC – The Town of Williamston is recognized by Audubon International for their continued commitment to sustainability through recertification as an “Audubon International Certified Sustainable Community.” Brent Kanipe, AICP, Director of Planning, led the effort to maintain certification status for this town and is being recognized for Environmental Stewardship by Audubon International. The Town of Williamston was designated as an Audubon International Certified Sustainable Community in 2009 and is one of five communities in the world to receive the honor.
Williamston Mayor Tommy Roberson commented, “Williamston is very proud to receive this designation from Audubon International and is pleased to be recognized for all the efforts of town citizens, staff, and the Town Board of Commissioners.”
The Audubon International Sustainable Communities Program provides information and guidance to help communities preserve and enhance what makes them healthy and vibrant places to live, work, and play. Certified members define a vision for their future founded in the three pillars of sustainability–a healthy local environment, quality of life for citizens, and economic vitality.
“Williamston demonstrates a strong commitment to its sustainability program. They are to be commended for preserving the natural heritage of the area by enhancing wetlands along the Roanoke River and directing development away from critical farmland and into the historic downtown,” said Joanna Nadeau, Director of Community Programs at Audubon International.
Developing riverside camping platforms, signage, and trail maps, purchasing recycled materials, and updating the comprehensive plan with green building and smart growth principles are the top examples why Williamston is considered a leader in sustainability. In the last few years, Williamston has also reduced municipal water use by 50%, installed permeable pavement in two parking lots, and increased affordable housing options. Williamston’s accomplishments have been enhanced by funding awards for historic preservation projects including façade improvements in the historic district and heritage publications.
“To maintain certification, a community must demonstrate that they are maintaining a high degree of environmental quality in a majority of areas,” explained Nadeau.
Members maintain certification status in the Sustainable Communities Program by demonstrating continuous progress towards goals in the plan under fifteen focus areas. Communities go through a recertification process every two years. Currently, there are 20 communities in the Sustainable Communities Program.