North Adams returns to crystal ball to update Vision 2030 city plan

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NORTH ADAMS — In 2014, the city laid out a plan for the future.

Five years later, how well has North Adams followed its Vision 2030 master plan?

The city's Community and Economic Development Advisory Board has embarked on a five-year review of that document, which in 2014 outlined approaches to issues like economic renewal and infrastructure investment.

The review process — requested by Mayor Thomas Bernard — began at a board meeting Wednesday. The panel expects to craft a supplemental document.

To guide the review, the city has tapped a Berkshire Regional Planning Commission planner, Zachary Feury, a graduate of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, who outlined the board's next steps.

"Being a student of MCLA and working in the county, he knows the socioeconomic fabric and challenges we face," said Community Development Director Michael Nuvallie.

The Vision 2030 project was launched in 2011, more than four decades since the city's most recent master plan. The plan was adopted by the City Council in 2014 after rounds of planning and community input.

Vision 2030 covered five central themes: economic renewal; physical reinvestment in aging infrastructure; creation of a thriving, connected community; intergenerational thinking; and fiscal efficiency.

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The goal of the review, Feury noted, is not to rewrite Vision 2030.

"That was an extensive process that created a very large and comprehensive document," Feury said.

He said the city should engage "a broad swath of the North Adams community" to look back on changes in the last five years and to identify goals and priorities.

The process is expected to take about six months.

The first month will be spent developing materials to solicit input. In June and July, the board expects to hold four to six public meetings.

In August and September, the board will begin shaping a document with its findings. A draft will be circulated for final community comment, hopefully by October.

On Wednesday, board members stressed the need to hear from a range of community members. They explored ways to involve the public that ranged from having a presence at downtown community events to utilizing social media.

"That's always the biggest impediment when you're doing community planning, is actually reaching the community [to] receive enough input from a large enough cross section of the entire community," Feury said.

Adam Shanks can be reached at ashanks@berkshireeagle.com, at @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter, or 413-629-4517.


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