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Opportunity Zone Presentation on October 15

Great things are happening in Downtown Greenfield and Turners Falls. However, vacant storefronts and buildings in need of redevelopment remain. What can be done to create more dynamic and sustainable downtown economies? One tool that can be used is the new federal Opportunity Zone program, which seeks to drive private investment into downtowns in need of revitalization.

Earlier this year LOCUS and Smart Growth America selected the City of Greenfield and the Town of Montague to participate in their Massachusetts Opportunity Zone Academy. The Academy provides one-on-one expert technical assistance to Greenfield and Montague on advancing smart growth best practices and policies to revitalize the designated Opportunity Zones in their communities (i.e. areas of Downtown Greenfield and the Village of Turners Falls). Smart growth best practices and policies encourage sustainable, equitable and walkable development that create healthy communities and expand economic opportunity.

As part of this award, experts from LOCUS and Smart Growth America will host a public presentation about the Opportunity Zones program and how these communities can leverage their designation to attract private investment. The presentation will be held on Tuesday, October 15 at 6:00 pm -7:30 pm, John Zon Community Center, 35 Pleasant Street, Greenfield. Anyone interested in learning more is welcome to attend.

 

MA Rural Policy Plan Released

The MA Rural Policy Advisory Commission (RPAC) released its Rural Policy Plan for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (PDF file, 30mb). The Plan identifies, highlights and offers policy recommendations related to the unique issues and challenges faced by rural Massachusetts.  The Plan provides a socioeconomic summary of rural Massachusetts and addresses 15 Focus Areas that were identified through listening sessions held across the state in late 2018. The goal of the Plan is to provide a thorough but succinct outline of each Focus Area that identifies the issues and highlights sub-regional differences, describes current related state policies and a best practices from Massachusetts or other parts of the country or the world, and provides prioritized recommendations.  Members of the RPAC and rural Regional Planning Agencies have shared in the effort to engage and solicit input from a large swath of stakeholders throughout Massachusetts through meetings and other efforts, and in sharing in the writing of the Plan.

Help prepare for the 2020 Census

Join us on June 5th for the Franklin County Complete Count Committee Kick-off!

Next year, the U.S. Census Bureau will seek to count all residents of Franklin County as part of the 2020 Census. This decennial census is different from past years. For example, households will be asked for the first time to respond online, as opposed to filling out a paper form and mailing it. This Census data will be used to determine legislative districts and how federal resources are distributed for years to come. We need to ensure that the 2020 Census counts everyone!

The Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) is forming the Franklin County Complete Count Committee to develop strategies and form partnerships to best prepare Franklin County households. If you would like to be part of this effort, please join us on Wednesday, June 5 at 3:00 pm in the 1st floor meeting room of the JWO Transit Center at 12 Olive Street, Greenfield, MA or contact Jessica Atwood at jatwood@frcog.org. For additional information about the upcoming census, please check out the “Census 2020, Make Yourself Count” factsheet from the NALEO Educational Fund (www.naleo.org/census2020).

New CEDS Committee Forming

In the coming year, FRCOG will lead the creation of the 2020 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) Plan for Franklin County. To correspond with the creation and implementation of this new five-year plan, a new CEDS Committee is forming.  The new Committee will have up to 19 members, with seats representing geographic areas, regional economic development entities and at-large participants. If you or someone you know may be a good candidate to be on the CEDS Committee, please contact Jessica Atwood at jatwood@frcog.org or call 413-774-3167 x123. Click here for a CEDS Committee member role description.

Draft 2019 CEDS Annual Report Available for Review

The DRAFT 2019 Greater Franklin County Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) Annual Report  (PDF, 3.9 mb) is available for public review and comment. Please submit comments by no later than Monday, June 10, 2019 via email to jatwood@frcog.org or by phone at 413-774-3167 x123.  This is the fourth and final update to the five-year Greater Franklin County 2015 CEDS Plan (PDF file, 1.8 mb).  The planning process will begin in summer 2019 to develop a new five-year plan to be published in June 2020.

New Labor Market Blueprint

As a member of the Pioneer Valley Regional Planning Core Team, FRCOG is partnering with the MassHire Franklin Hampshire Workforce Board and others to implement strategies of the Pioneer Valley Labor Market Blueprint. The Blueprint was developed to better align the work of economic development, workforce and education partners for the purpose of creating strong talent pipelines for our three-county region.

2018 CEDS Annual Report Available

The latest update to the 2015 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) Plan, the 2018 CEDS Annual Report, has been approved and is available to view or download here.  Please contact Jessica Atwood, FRCOG Economic Development Program Manager at jatwood@frcog.org with any questions, comments, or a request for a hardcopy of the report.

Draft 2018 CEDS Annual Report for Public Comment

Available for public comment:  DRAFT 2018 CEDS Annual Report  (PDF file, 2.2 mb)

Please submit comments for the Draft 2018 CEDS Annual Report by no later than 4 pm on Monday, June 11, 2018 via email to jatwood@frcog.org, by mail to Jessica Atwood, FRCOG, 12 Olive Street, Suite 2, Greenfield, MA 01301, or by calling 413-774-3167 x123 during business hours. To request a hardcopy of the Draft Report, please call 413-774-3164 x123.

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

Draft 2017 CEDS Annual Report available for review.

The Draft 2017 CEDS Annual Report (PDF, 5 mb) is available for review.

Please forward your comments and questions about the Draft 2017 CEDS Annual Report to jatwood@frcog.org or call 413-774-3167 x123, by no later than the close of business on Tuesday, June 20, 2017.  To receive a hardcopy of the Draft Report, email jatwood@frcog.org or call 413-774-3167 x123.