Saturday, July 02, 2011

Three open "visioning" sessions to chart Berkshire County's future

This is a news release from the Berkshire County Regional Planning Commission.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) announced on Thursday the initiation of development of "Sustainable Berkshires: Community Strategies for a Sustainable Future." Development of the plan is funded by a Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant, a highly competitive new federal program administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).


Given the broad scope of Sustainable Berkshires, both in content and geographic area, the efforts will take place over three years and will replace the existing regional plan, adopted ten years ago.

The Sustainable Berkshires plan will be developed with significant community participation, including public workshops, focused topic forums and a public website providing access to information.
The first round of workshops will focus on highlighting key trends and crafting a vision for the future. The visioning workshop will be held three times - in northern, central and southern locations . for ease of attendance. The public is encouraged to participate in any of these visioning sessions:
  • Wed., July 6 at the All Saints Church in North Adams, 7 p.m.-9 p.m.
  • Tues., July 12 at the Berkshire Athenaeum Auditorium in Pittsfield, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.; and
  • Tues., July 13 at the Fire Station in Great Barrington, 7 p.m.-9 p.m.
In addition to traditional planning topics such as economic development, transportation, and land use, the plan will pay particular attention to new topics such as non-traditional economic activities, greenhouse gas emissions, climate change adaptation measures, energy conservation and renewable energy generation, community health and wellness, social equity and justice, and food security.

The plan will identify a number of short- and long-term actions and priorities in each work area.Implementation will be stressed and encouraged both during and after the planning process. As opportunities for immediate implementation are identified during the three year planning process, they will be advanced to encourage new partnerships and investment into the region.

A unique feature of the grant is that it carries with it a "preferred sustainability status" designation which provides bonus points to compatible applications from the region to select federal agencies.
Once the planning grant is completed, the region will also be eligible for implementation grants through the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, which is comprised of Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Transportation, and Environmental Protection Agency.Prior to the launch of the project website, information can be found at
Contact BRPC for additional information on this project or the upcoming visioning sessions at (413)442-1521.
Nathaniel Karns, Executive Director (x26)
Amy Kacala, Senior Planner, Project Manager (x12)


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