Middletown Twp. making renewable energy a top priority

by Karen Sangillo

Middletown Township’s goal is to go completely green and the township has recently taken a big step forward in that regard. As of May 1st, all electricity used by the township in its facilities and streetlights is coming from renewable sources as part of a long-term plan to 100% renewable energy.

“It’s the right thing for us to do,” said Anna Payne, the chairperson for the township board of supervisors. “We were one of the first townships in Southeastern Pennsylvania to pass a climate action plan. Our environmental advisory council is the group that really worked on the plan and it’s an extensive document.

“Also, a lot of federal dollars are becoming available to help local governments make the transition so that’s a factor.”

The other board members include vice chairperson Dawn Quirple, secretary Bernadette Hannah, Mike Ksiazek and Dana Kane. 

“All five of us feel very strongly about doing what we can to preserve the planet and limit our carbon footprint,” Anna said. “We wanted to see what we can do at the local level to make a difference and that’s what it’s all about.”

The township’s goal is to reach 100% renewable energy by 2030. 

“We’re seven years ahead of schedule, which is pretty exciting,” Anna said. 

The board also approved a solar study, a plan to convert the building to LED lights is in progress and the township has also applied for a federal grant to purchase an electric vehicle.  The cost of the solar study is minimal but could reap many benefits. 

“That was one of the questions I posed, what the solar study was going to cost,” Anna said. “But the cost of the study is where we could apply for grant money and any time we get grant money, that saves the taxpayers.

“The study will identify areas where we can put some solar panels on township property. And for sure there’s a definite savings down the road when you convert to solar energy. It’s like an investment not only financially but in the future. There’s a lot of federal dollars coming in and that helps move things faster because it helps fund things.” 

The board of supervisors is also seeking input from township residents on a new project. 

“We are trying to get the word out about an action plan,” Anna said. “One of our goals is a climate action plan in 2025 and we’re currently working on a multimodal improvement plan.

The plan, known as the MIP (Multimodal Improvements Plan), will identify opportunities to enhance pedestrian facilities such as sidewalks, trails and bike lanes and improve access to public transportation. The plan is fully funded by a Transportation and Community Development Initiative grant of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.

The board of supervisors has hired Simone Collins as a consultant to develop this plan.  The township has two scheduled public meetings about this project; one on May 30th and one on September 28th, both at 6:00pm.

In addition to the meetings, residents can go to the township website, and complete the community survey. The survey will inform the development of the Middletown Township Multimodal Improvements Plan, which will analyze existing pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure and propose improvements to increase overall safety for all modes of transportation.

Reducing reliance on single-occupant motor vehicles is a strategic goal for township planning.    Residents can also use the online mapping tool to draw desired bike routes, sidewalks and trails.

This tool is also useful for residents to note sidewalk gaps, desired crosswalk locations, challenging areas and areas of safety concerns.  If a resident does not have internet access, they can call the township at 215-750-3800 for assistance.

Questions about the Multimodal Improvement Plan can be directed to assistant township manager Nick Valla at or 215-750-3832.  

“We have residents who are working on the MIP but we’re looking for as much input as possible,” Anna said. “We want as much information from the community as we can get. We want to see the community more connected and we’re really looking for input from people in wheelchairs so we can make it ADA accessible. 

“We want to try to improve the walkability so pedestrians can get around.” 

The township has received multiple awards for their work toward sustainability including the Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for Excellence in Local Government for Innovative Planning & Sound Land Use Practices and became a Platinum Certified Sustainable Township through the Sustainable Pennsylvania Community Certification Program.  

PHOTO CAP: Pictured from left, Richard Vilello, Deputy Secretary of Community Affairs and Development, Pennsylvania DCED; Mike Ksiazek, Chairperson, Middletown Township Board of Supervisors; Anna Payne, Vice Chairperson, Middletown Township Board of Supervisors; Stephanie Teoli Kuhls, Township Manager, Middletown Township; Nick Valla, Assistant Township Manager, Middletown Township; and C. Kim Bracey, Executive Director of the Center for Local Government Services, Pennsylvania DCED.

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