The City’s Master Plan was drafted in 1999. That was 22 years ago! Holyoke is in a different place today, therefore it is time we revisit our master plan and update it, as well as update our Open Space and Recreation Plan, through a robust community process and be sure we include a climate resiliency twist. The process involved will help articulate the community’s vision for our future and assure we have the tools necessary, including our local regulations, policies and practices, in place to achieve our desired future that effectively addresses our social determinant of health disparities, with special consideration to green infrastructure and climate resiliency. With new growth development pressures taking place in our City by the new marijuana industry (which I fully embrace) among other new industry, we need to be ready to proactively manage our growth so that we are protecting our natural resources, the desires of our neighborhoods, and keeping up with critical infrastructure needs. We also need to be sure we continue to implement the strategies in the Redevelopment Authority’s Plan for Revitalization of Center City Holyoke that looks to stimulate private investment and development of diverse commercial, residential, and industrial areas in our urban core. In each of these plans, I want to make sure we include integration of low impact development strategies, nature-based solutions, and other climate resilience considerations across our activities in the City, from economic development and zoning to drinking water supply and land protection. As we proceed forward with these objectives to improve conditions that impact Holyoke’s social determinants of health, we have to be sure equity and inclusion is on the forefront.
I have leveraged state resources to coordinate Blandford’s first ever Resilient Master Plan and update its outdated Open Space and Recreation Plan. The process will help better guide the Town’s local government decision makers with managing development interest in town such as solar, marijuana cultivation, and new home construction, while protecting its natural resources and the environment. Additionally, I have successfully leveraged and contract managed two rounds of green community grants that helped fund energy conservation measures at Town buildings to reduce our energy consumption and cost to taxpayers.