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DEVENS — The Devens Enterprise Commission (DEC) has been awarded a two-year grant for $40,000 from the Boston-based Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust to support creating the Devens Eco-Efficiency Center.

The Nashua River Watershed Association is the fiscal agent of this award. The center will be operated under the DEC, which serves as the regulatory and permitting authority of Devens.

“The DEC is extremely pleased that the EcoStar program has been recognized by the Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust,” said commission Chairman William P. Marshall. “Our commitment to sustainable development and its implementation are the framework of the DEC’s redevelopment efforts.”

“Showing that environmental protection and economic development can go hand in hand is exemplified in the EcoStar program,” said commission Director Peter Lowitt, AICP. “We are very thankful that the trustees of Jesse B. Cox have recognized that in their generous award.”

The mission of the Devens Eco-Efficiency Center will be to create a resilient and stable business community with companies that are environmentally sensitive and economically viable for Devens and the surrounding communities.

This will be accomplished by making educational programs, support services and technical assistance readily available to the community’s 85 commercial and industrial companies as well as those located in Ayer, Harvard and Shirley. These activities will facilitate an awareness of opportunities to conserve resources, minimize pollution and decrease solid waste.

Typically, the adoption of more ecologically-efficient practices leads to a decrease in operational costs, which benefits the company’s bottom line.

The Devens Eco-Efficiency Center will build on and expand the services currently being provided to the area’s business community through the EcoStar stewardship program. This initiative was launched in February 2005 and currently has 22 members. Participants include commercial and industrial businesses, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions and municipal groups.

In addition to monthly educational forums and technical assistance, EcoStar provides public recognition of members who are minimizing their environmental footprint. Programs are being offered in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Environmental Protection, environmental consultants and business leaders.

“Most businesses want to be good stewards, and EcoStar provides them with tools that enable them to decrease their environmental impact,” said Dona Neely, coordinator of the program. “We’re very excited about expanding our services with the Devens Eco-Efficiency Center.”

For information call Neely at (508) 878-1728 or e-mail donaneely1@comcast.net.

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