In response to COVID-19, FRCOG offices are closed. Staff are working remotely. Email is likely the most efficient way to reach us. You can find our contact information on the Staff page under the About link below.

Building, plumbing and wiring inspectors are available for meetings by appointment only.

All meetings, workshops and forums are cancelled or have been changed to a call-in or video format.  Please look for emails from FRCOG staff about specific meetings or on our calendar at the Meetings and Events link below.

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New rounds of the MassDOT Shared Streets & Spaces Grant have been Announced

MassDOT has announced new funding for the Shared Streets and Spaces Program to help municipalities address the challenges of winter and the ongoing public health crisis. This new phase of the Shared Streets and Spaces Program is called Shared Winter Streets and Spaces. The program provides grants from $5,000 to $300,000 for quick-build improvements to sidewalks, curbs, streets, on-street parking spaces, and off-street parking lots in support of public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce.

MassDOT has allocated $10 million for this program. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, and decisions will be made in four rounds. The deadlines for the 4 rounds are December 4th, January 5th, January 29th, and February 26th. Please note that this review schedule is different from the first, summer version of the Shared Streets and Spaces Program.

For further details about the program go to https://www.mass.gov/shared-winter-streets-and-spaces-grant-program.

COVID Testing Options: November

Testing for asymptomatic people (people who are not currently sick):

  • Community Health Center of Franklin County:  www.chcfc.org/testing — Tuesdays in Greenfield, Fridays in Orange at the new location at 119 New Athol Rd in Orange on Fridays as of November 6.  Note: Per state mandate, testing solely for travel reasons is available, but Mass Health is the only insurance covering that cost. Others will not be covered by insurance and the cost will be billed to the patient. Note: week of November 23rd the testing is Greenfield, Monday only. Not in Orange on Friday.
  • Stop The Spread sites: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/stop-the-spread — Free drive-through for anyone — closest to us are weekdays in Holyoke and Springfield. Check the website for specific times.
  • Valley Medical Group offers testing for their patients for any reason (Mondays and Fridays 8-4 in Greenfield with an appointment).
  • Baystate Franklin Medical Center: https://www.baystatehealth.org/covid19/testing  Daily testing in Greenfield at a new location across the street: 157 High St.  You must schedule an appointment to be tested by calling 413-795-TEST and you will need a physician referral.

Testing for people with symptoms:

  • All of the above sites will also test those with symptoms.
  • Medical Providers with onsite testing for their patients include CHFCFC, Baystate Medical Practices (at drive-through across the street from BFMC), Valley Medical Group (Mondays and Fridays 8-4 in Greenfield with an appointment).

Trail Improvement Work Completed on a Section of the Mahican Mohawk Hiking Trail as Part of a MassTrail Grant

As part of a MassTrail Grant being managed by the FRCOG, the Student Conservation Association (SCA) completed trail improvements on a section of the Mahican Mohawk Trail. These trail improvements were completed this fall.  The improvements are one of four trail improvement projects funded through the grant award.

Photo showing trail work to clear fallen trees from the Mahican Mohawk Trail

A section of the Mahican Mohawk Trail where fallen trees were cleared as part of trail improvements.

A photo of a newly constructed trail crossing on the Mahican Mohawk Trail

A new crossing of Wheeler Brook was constructed on the Mahican Mohawk Trail as part of a MassTrails funded improvement project.

 

Erving is Awarded Complete Streets Funding

The Town of Erving has been awarded $399,596 for the construction of five pedestrian and bicycle mobility projects through the MassDOT Complete Streets Program. The grant is the culmination of close work between Erving and the FRCOG Transportation Planning staff to prepare a successful Complete Streets application. The awarded funds will be used for sidewalk rehabilitation and improvement projects on Central Street, Gunn Street, Park Street, Pratt Street, and River Street. Congratulations to Erving for their support of safe and healthy transportation options.

A picture of the existing sidewalk on Gunn Street in Ervingside.

Complete Streets improvements in Erving include restoring sidewalks on Gunn Street.

 

**COVID-19 Data and Updates**

For an archive of all the emails sent by the state on re-opening, click here
For a Franklin County data dashboard from the Public Health Institute of Western MA, click here.
For the state’s COVID data page, click here.
For the latest situation reports from the MA COVID Command Center, click here.
For the COG’s COVID Municipal Resources Page click here.
For the COG’s Board of Health COVID Resources Page click here.
For the Region 1 Health and Medical Coordinating Coalition, click here.
For resources and guidance for businesses, organizations, entrepreneurs, and job seekers, click here.

Click here for testing resources

 

 

To read the FRCOG’s Municipal Leader COVID-19 updates:

New grant program for small businesses – deadline extended!

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has launched two new programs to help businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will provide grants of up to $75,000 to eligible small businesses (businesses with 50 or fewer employees) and grants of up to $25,000 to eligible microenterprises (businesses with 5 or fewer employees) to fund certain activities.  The application round opened on October 22 and was scheduled to close on November 12. However, the deadline has been extended to Tuesday, November 17 at 11:59 pm. For details, go to: https://www.empoweringsmallbusiness.org/covid-19-response/covid-19-grants-massachusetts-small-businesses.

This program as well as information about other programs and resources to support businesses and community economic development are posted at: https://frcog.org/publication/view/business-development-resource-guide/

MassDOT Shared Streets and Spaces Program Funds Projects in Franklin County Towns

The FRCOG assisted several Franklin County towns to apply for funding through the MassDOT Shared Streets and Spaces Program. The program provided funding for communities to quickly implement improvements to sidewalks, curbs, streets, on-street parking spaces, and off-street parking lots in support of public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce. The FRCOG assisted the Town of Gill to secure $20,023 in funding for temporary pedestrian accommodations in the town center, and the Town of Montague to secure $35,300 for temporary traffic calming and pedestrian facilities on Third Street, L Street, and at Unity Park. Additional Shared Streets and Spaces grants in Franklin County were awarded to Buckland, Greenfield, Orange, and Shelburne.

A photo to show the delineators installed to narrow the intersection and create more space for crossing pedestrians on Third Street.

Delineators were installed to narrow the intersection and create more space for crossing pedestrians on Third Street in Turners Falls.

To show the newly painted sidewalk area on Third Street in Turners Falls

As part of the Shared Streets and Spaces Program, an area for pedestrians was delineated with colorful paint on Third Street in Turners Falls.

Fluvial Geomorphology in Action! Connecting Point episode highlights the habitat restoration and flood resiliency project on the North River in Colrain.

The FRCOG’s 2014 Fluvial Geomorphic and Habitat Assessment of the North River in Colrain, funded by a grant from the MassDEP’s 604b Program, has led to the construction of a river restoration and flood resiliency project that is highlighted in this September 10, 2020, episode of Connecting Point.  The video is a great chance to see fluvial geomorphology in action.  We are happy to see the preliminary design funded through the MassDEP grant being implemented.
For further information please contact Kimberly Noake MacPhee at KMacPhee@frcog.org.

Northfield Awarded Complete Street Funding

Congratulations to the Town of Northfield for receiving a MassDOT Complete Streets Construction Funding award. The $372,620 grant will be used to construct nine mobility and safety improvement projects in Northfield. The FRCOG Transportation Planning staff worked closely with the Town on their Complete Streets applications and we are happy to announce this award for improvements on Moody Street, Highland Avenue, Winchester Road, Gulf Road, and Mt. Hermon Station Road, along with crosswalk upgrades on side streets in the town center and installation of Franklin County Bikeway signs.

The Moody Street and Highland Avenue intersection will be reconfigured to improve safety and pedestrian mobility as part of the Complete Street Program funding award.