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Celebrate FRCOG’s 20th Anniversary!

We are pleased to announce that July 1, 2017, marked the FRCOG’s 20th birthday.  In the two decades since the FRCOG Charter was enacted by vote of all 26 Franklin County towns, we have been honored to work on behalf of all of you on many diverse projects, including town accounting, brownfields redevelopment, teen substance abuse prevention, health and building inspection, and planning for healthy and vibrant communities.  All summer we will be celebrating our history of working together as a region by digging into our archives to highlight what the towns of Franklin County have achieved together through the FRCOG.  You can follow our daily posts of historical milestones on Facebook  and on Twitter

Not on social media? You can see the posts here: 20th anniversary posts up to July 12

Also — no big anniversary is complete without a party! Please plan to join us on Friday, September 8, in the afternoon for a celebration and Open House (more details TBD)

FRCOG’s front office in the Courthouse… now the District Attorney’s office.

Our staff in the early 1990s, when we were still the Franklin County Commission.

Our staff in 2014 at our new home in the John Olver Transit Center

Summer Reading: FRCOG 2016 Annual Reports are available online

FRCOG’s Annual Reports for 2016 are online and available!

Click here to see the full regional report.

Click here to find  your town’s appendix. These appendices include just the town-specific work done, and were distributed to each town bound into the back of the full Regional Report.

COG staff member Bob Dean’s photo of Zerah Fiske Road in Shelburne – a location used in the movie The Judge

The Town of Montague’s new skate park at Unity Park

Brownfields clean-up and demolition underway at Mill in Monroe

Brownfields Clean-up and Demolition at Former Ramage Paper Mill in Monroe

The Town of Monroe and it contractors are completing the clean-up and demolition of the collapsing wooden building at the former Ramage Paper Mill. Funding from the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) Brownfields program, the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs and Great River Hydro (formerly TransCanada) is supporting this work.   Concerns about potential impacts on the Deerfield River and public safety led the Town of Monroe to remedy this situation, with the assistance of the FRCOG, after repeated requests to the property owner went unanswered.

The next stage of this project is to design, engineer, and construct an overlook park on the site, as funded by the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs.

 Photo of the Ramage Paper Mill site from May 2015


 Photos of the demolition of the wood structure at Ramage Paper Mill site from June 2017

Photos after demolition of the wood structure at Ramage Paper Mill site and with rocks placed along the river’s edge from July 2017

Municipal Resources on Marijuana Legalization

The FRCOG recently hosted a workshop with Attorney Joel Bard and State Rep. Steve Kulik on the many changes coming as a result of the legalization of recreational marijuana. We have collected a number of resources for towns and others on our website.   Click here for a collection of useful information on the new law.

Climate Change Survey Open

The FRCOG is in the beginning stages of developing a Climate Change Adaptation Plan for Franklin County and is seeking responses to their Climate Change Adaptation and Resiliency for Franklin County Survey. This survey focuses on Franklin Town towns and how flooding impacts their infrastructure and natural resources.

CLICK HERE to take the survey. And check back for more information on the Climate Change Adaptation Plan, getting underway in 2017!

$155K Grant Awarded for River Corridor Planning

The FRCOG Planning Department received $155,000 from the MassDEP’s 319 Nonpoint Source Pollution Competitive Grant Program, one of only nine awards made for stormwater projects across the state, for a project to improve the resiliency of the Deerfield River Watershed.  FRCOG’s project will look at innovative ways to map and protect river corridors in the Deerfield River Watershed, which experienced major flooding and erosion during Tropical Storm Irene.  Although the Deerfield River and many of its tributaries are healthy in terms of their high water quality, these same rivers are very unstable in their response to intense rain events.  This instability results in erosion and flooding, which threatens infrastructure, homes, businesses and agricultural lands.  The rivers are highly reactive to intense rain events for a number of reasons, one of which is the disconnection of the rivers from their floodplains, which provide a “safety valve” during flood events.  FRCOG’s project will develop cost-effective river corridor mapping protocols, work with several towns to adapt a model River Corridor Protection Overlay District developed by FRCOG under a FEMA-funded project for the South River Watershed, and develop a model River Corridor Conservation Restriction.  For more information, contact Kimberly Noake MacPhee, P.G., Land Use & Natural Resources Program Manager at 413-774-3167 x130 or kmacphee@frcog.org.

 

Greenscape Challenge Aims to Improve Water Quality

Act for cleaner rivers logo finalFall is a great time to get outside and spend time in your yard and gardens. The Greenscape Challenge can help you to decide what projects to focus on which can improve your yard and gardens and help protect water quality at the same time! The Greenscape Challenge, part of a collaborative project between the Town of Greenfield, the FRCOG and Greening Greenfield, is aimed at teaching you about various projects and techniques you can use in your yard and gardens to help reduce stormwater runoff from your property. Stormwater runoff can often carry with it lawn chemicals, motor oil, dog poop, grass clipping and much more, which in turn wash into storm drains and on into our streams and rivers. Take the Greenscape Challenge and join the growing numbers of people working to protect water quality in Greenfield and beyond. Learn more.

Food Access & Public Health Infographics Released

New infographics illustrate the links between income, food access, diet, activity and health and focus primarily on Franklin County data. Funding for the development of these infographics was made available by Mass in Motion. The complete set of infographics is available here.

This infographic highlights the link between lack of good access to food and public health.

This infographic highlights the link between lack of good access to food and public health.

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Kinder Morgan-TGP NED Gas Pipeline Project

Kinder Morgan-TGP NED Gas Pipeline Project Overview: The proposed Kinder Morgan Tennessee/ Gas Company pipeline would have been a new natural gas pipeline that would have directly impacted eight communities in Franklin County. It was proposed to be generally co-located along high voltage electric transmission lines and was approximately 34 miles in length. A large-scale compressor station associated with the pipeline was proposed to be located in Northfield. If it had been approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), it would have been the largest infrastructure project since the construction of Interstate 91 in Franklin County. On April 22, 2016 Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP) Company suspended further work on the NED pipeline and requested that FERC take no further action. On May 11, 2016 the FRCOG submitted a letter to FERC requesting that FERC deny or dismiss with prejudice the Application for the KM-TGP NED Pipeline.  On May 23, 2016, KM-TGP formally withdrew its Application to FERC.  The FRCOG plans to send a follow-up letter to our Federal Legislators with recommendations to improve the FERC process.  For more information contact Linda Dunlavy at lindad@frcog.org or Peggy Sloan at psloan@frcog.org.