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The Greening of Camp Venture
Efforts to go green continue apace at Camp Venture thanks to the forward thinking of the national economic stimulus program and the support of our agency partners. Agency residences recently completed an aggressive weatherization program coordinated by the IAC (Inter Agency Council of Developmental Disabilities Agencies) which utilized grant monies from the Federal Government. The Eugene Levy building which is home to the Venture Industries workshop and the Creative Venture and Venture Select Day habilitation programs recently completed a stimulus project that involved installing a new array of solar panels on their roof.
The projects which were funded in the first years of the Obama administration were developed to help put people back to work during the darkest days of the recession. And, though the program was mired in controversy at the time, it would seem now to be show some marked results at least for Camp Venture anyway. The weatherization projects were 100% funded and the solar project was partially funded by the stimulus through NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority ). The balance of the monies for the solar project was supported by a grant from Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski Jr.
â€œWe are seeing lower costs, â€œ explains Dan Lukens, Camp Venture’s Executive Director. â€œAnd, though those saving are not for us per se, we were, nonetheless pleased to be a part of the program.â€
Agencies like Venture are funded for the cost of the energy that they use in their rate agreements. When the cost of energy goes down, in time, so does the reimbursement. Saving money, however, is an essential part of the agency’s mission to serve the public trust.
â€œCamp Venture is a part of a community,â€ explains Dorothy Cox, Camp Venture’s Deputy Executive Director who managed the energy projects. â€œThese projects helped us to make our operations more efficient. Optimizing our effectiveness is a part of the Venture ethic,â€ she said. â€œDoing what we do well involves not only providing the best service possible for our clients, it means taking responsibility for keeping costs down for the public and cooperating with the larger national imperatives,â€ Cox said.
The solar panel project was made possible by the federal stimulus and the NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority ) which managed the stimulus program grants. Mehl Electric Co., Inc. of Pearl River was the contractor and labor was from the IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers). We are grateful for their support and involvement and especially to Mr. Charles (Buddy) Damiani who coordination of behalf of the IBEWe and, again, we are grateful to Assemblyman Zebrowski’s office.
The weatherization project grant was managed by the IAC (Inter Agency Council of Developmental Disabilities Agencies) of which Camp Venture is a member agency. Our thanks to them and to all involved who helped make these projects possible. Most especially Camp Venture is grateful for the economic stimulus program which, in addition to these energy project, also supported the food stamp and Medicaid programs through the worst days of the recession.
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