Yonkers Mayor Releases Ambitious Climate Action Plan

Yonkers Mayor Releases Ambitious Climate Action Plan
From left, Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano; Yonkers City Council Majority Leader Tasha Diaz and William Serratore, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. PHOTO CREDIT: MAURICE MERCADO/CITY OF YONKERS

YONKERS—Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano was joined by the Yonkers Office of Sustainability, Yonkers Green City Advisory Board, and local community leaders on June 13 to release the City of Yonkers’ first-ever Climate Action Plan.

The Yonkers Climate Action Plan’s goal is to secure the city’s path to zero emissions by 2050, which includes a 100% greenhouse gas reduction, 100% electric fleets, and a 50% reduction of the heat island effect.

“By embracing sustainable practices and investing in a greener future, we are doing our part to strengthen our city’s resiliency against climate change,” said Mayor Mike Spano. “This plan will help us to form equitable strategies to lower emissions, keep our City energy efficient, and lower climate risk for future generations of our residents.”

Yonkers Office of Sustainability Director William Serratore said, “Today, under the leadership of Mayor Mike Spano, Yonkers residents can improve their quality of life and position themselves in the global fight against climate change. The Yonkers Climate Action Plan creates numerous benefits for our residents, the environment, and the local economy.”

The comprehensive 158-page plan is a culmination of one year of research, examination, and partnerships. It aims to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions while improving residents’ quality of life, strengthening the economic vitality of local businesses, creating new jobs, fostering a healthy community and natural environment, and making Yonkers more resilient.

The plan will focus on several goals and strategies including:

Jobs and Economy

• Create a green jobs training program to support green industries.

• Create incentives for green businesses to operate in the community.

• Assist existing businesses in decarbonizing business practices

Resilience and Environment

• Increase tree canopy in parks, community spaces, and public facilities.

• Reduce community-wide risk of flooding in flood-prone areas by creating technical assistance programs.

• Expand the city’s existing resilience and emergency preparedness efforts.

Waste and Materials

• Create and implement a community-wide solid waste diversion plan.

• Install public recycling bins in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic.

• Establish a composting program for city operations.

Energy and Buildings

• Increase efficiency in institutional and residential, commercial, and industrial buildings in Yonkers.

• Increase the use of renewable energy sources across Yonkers


• Provide secure parking options at city-owned and operated buildings and Metro-North stations.

• Create opportunities and incentives for mixed-use, transit-oriented development.

• Encourage the installation of electric charging stations for businesses and developers.

Groundwork Hudson Valley Executive Director Brigitte Griswold said of the city’s climate plan, “This is a historic moment for the City of Yonkers. We are proud and honored by the inclusion of our Yonkers Climate Safe Task Force in the development process and we are very grateful for the well-focused environmental justice lens that Mayor Mike Spano, Yonkers Director of Sustainability William Serratore, and all the City Commissioners applied to both the process of developing this and the final project.”

With the 2023 release of the Yonkers Climate Action Plan, the goal of the first year is to paint municipal building rooftops white to lower extreme temperatures, continue the expansion of electric charging stations, and encourage food scrapping. Last month, Mayor Spano announced the Curbside Food Scrap Collection pilot program, which will serve as a model for expanding to other buildings and households.

Other long-term goals include:

• Reduce greenhouse gases by 40% and reduced transportation emissions by an additional 20% by 2028.

• Achieve 100% fleet electrification, a 30% reduction of flood risk, and an increase in the tree canopy with the addition of 5,000 trees by 2033.

• Reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 60%, with 100% electricity in municipal buildings, with zero emissions of any waste or pollution to the environment by 2038.

Over the last decade, the City of Yonkers has received multiple accolades for its sustainability efforts. The city has been designed as a New York State Bronze Climate Smart Community (2020), New York State Clean Energy Community (2014), and received the Smart Energy Decisions Renewable Energy Innovation Award (2019).

Under the leadership of Mayor Mike Spano, the city has also reduced municipal energy use by 26% and oil consumption by 15%. Yonkers was the first City in New York State to completely replace thousands of streetlights with LED bulbs, resulting in $18 million in energy cost savings for taxpayers. Yonkers currently hosts New York’s first dockless shared electric scooter program, providing a convenient, low-cost, emission-free option for residents and visitors to get around the City. In April, Mayor Spano announced the expansion of electric vehicle charging stations to 90, making it the largest municipal expansion of electric charging vehicle stations in Westchester County.

The Yonkers Climate Action Plan is available at https://www.yonkersny.gov/government/mayor-s-office/mayor-s-office-of-sustainability/yonkers-climate-action-plan

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