On May 12, the Town of Cortlandt held a meeting about the Verplanck Enhancement Plan as a follow up to the January 20 meeting. Many interesting issues were discussed, but as an educator, what interested me most were the educational possibilities.
A portion of the former Martin land holdings, across from the trailer park by the riverfront, will be developed into trails, with a section to be made into an educational area. This plan is at the preliminary stage right now. So I took the opportunity to propose that a sustainable building project be undertaken. Perhaps an insulated earthbag building could be situated there, with lots of "green" innovative features, like a green roof, an alternative heating system like, perhaps, waste oil heating and/or radiant heated floors, a chemical toilet, and more.
Perhaps this could even be a project for local high school or college students to build for credit. What a great learning experience that could be! Right now, Verplanck doesn't offer much for teens, other than quiet streets that lend themselves to fast skateboarding or zooming around in their cars. A positive, concrete project like this could help local teens see how simple it can be to move into a sustainable future. And this type of project has the added benefit of being low in cost. See, for example, one of my favorite earthbag building blogs.
When I discussed this idea with a town official, he made it clear that it's a bit too progressive for the town to take on just now, but a space could be left in the area so that in a few years, this type of project could be possible to take on. While I am a fan of earthbag building, I haven't done it myself, so hopefully we could involve someone who is experienced in it, perhaps even with a sustainable building education grant. If you know of any resources for this, please post them in the comments!