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Hazard/My Turn: Transform vision into reality

Greenfield’s new Master Plan, called Sustainable Greenfield: The Place Where You Belong, was unveiled to a capacity audience at the Sloan Theatre on Jan. 29.

So what’s next? I was thrilled not only by the turnout, but also that the question “what’s next” was foremost in many people’s minds! Eric Twarog, director of planning and development, immediately responded with an invitation: “If you are interested in serving on an implementation committee, please send me your name.”

I would like to add my voice to Eric’s invitation, and urge everyone to send Eric your name and what role you would like to play.

So, what exactly are we trying to implement? Sustainable Greenfield reflects the ideas of hundreds of people in Greenfield who came to one of the public meetings, or sent in ideas on the Master Plan website. The 36-person Advisory Committee looked for common goals within the over 600 ideas suggested, and ways to turn these goals into reality.

The committee also used sustainability as a guide to review the many suggestions that you gave us. We did that by first acknowledging that we live in a changing environment, which requires us to rethink how we meet our basic needs, and what effect our actions have on the environment that supports us all. It also means that we not only considered what will improve the environment, but also what will improve our economy and what will bring about a more equitable community.

With all this information, the committee then tried to paint a picture of what everyone wants our lives and our town to look like in the next 10 to 20 years. Each of the seven chapters of Sustainable Greenfield starts with a “vision statement.” Below is my attempt to put all those vision statements into one big vision of our future.

Greenfield will be a living example of how economic vitality, social equity and environmental sustainability creates and maintains a resilient community with an excellent quality of life for diverse people of all ages.

People live, work, or visit Greenfield because we have living-wage jobs, a beautiful bustling downtown, cultural activities and events, shopping options, local food and restaurants, recreational opportunities and quality housing, schools and colleges.

Greenfield offers many attractive, affordable and energy-efficient housing options that are within walking distance of downtown or other neighborhoods that offer services.

Greenfield embraces its role as the county seat and offers quality local, state and federal services. Its multi-modal transportation system encourages residents and visitors to choose walking, biking, riding public transit and driving environmentally-friendly vehicles as ways to get around town and beyond.

Our community becomes greener each year with new healthy trees, more zero-net-energy buildings, green electricity, cleaner rivers and streams, and improved transit options. “Buy local” is an attractive and inspiring slogan, as we celebrate our resilient community with abundant food, quality jobs, activities for people of all ages, quality housing and green energy.

So, what do you think? Are you excited about this vision? I am.

The Planning Board noted, “Moving toward sustainability will require a new consciousness and commitment to do things differently than what has been done in the past.”

Also, as Susan Worgaftik pointed out at the meeting, this is not just a document for our government. To be successful, we need everyone to get involved and help out … one person and one family at a time. In fact, each goal in the plan has things that our government can do and things that we can do.

For example, if we want to reach out goal of increasing local food security and supporting the environment while our government is focusing on preserving farmland, you could buy local food. If you own a home with a yard, you could grow flowers in your yard that feed the bees that pollinate our vegetables and plant fruit trees or vegetables. If you don’t want to grow food yourself, how about inviting a neighbor to use your yard to grow some food? In addition to supporting the environment and local food, you will also reduce the time you spend mowing your lawn, because it will be smaller!

Let’s all work together to transform our world and implement our collective dream. It will be an adventure — and fun! I look forward to working with all of you.

The full plan is at the library, planning office, and downloadable at the town website www.Greenfield-MA.gov and then to useful links at the bottom of the page. Eric Twarog can be emailed at ericT@greenfield-ma.gov.

Nancy Hazard is the former director of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA), and a member of the Greenfield Master Plan Advisory Committee, the Town Sustainability Advisory Committee, and Greening Greenfield. She can be reached at nhazard@WorldSustain.net.

Really? Social equality? What does that mean exactly? How does that get put into a city's Master Plan? That's a first. How about "compatible land use" or "compatible economic growth". When speaking of "districts" in the master planning process, do you have a district where all people are socially equal? I hope they didn't spend too much money on this thing.

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