Montague seeks $80K grant to consider climate resiliency

  • Montague Town Hall. Staff File Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 5/6/2022 3:37:57 PM

MONTAGUE — The Selectboard has approved Town Planner Walter Ramsey’s proposal to apply for $80,000 through the Municipal Vulnerabilities Preparedness (MVP) Action Grant Program to put toward “incorporating climate resiliency into the Montague Comprehensive Plan.”

Montague is in the process of rewriting its 1999 Comprehensive Plan, which includes chapters addressing areas such as climate resiliency, housing, community facilities and services, transportation, economic development and land use. The revised plan “will have an emphasis on climate-resiliency planning so the town can be prepared to address the vulnerabilities identified” in the 2018 MVP plan, according to a letter Selectboard Chair Rich Kuklewicz wrote to state Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Kathleen Theoharides. Mainly, Ramsey said, the grant would be put toward hiring a consultant to write the Comprehensive Plan.

In his pitch to the Selectboard, Ramsey emphasized the importance of a climate resiliency focus. The grant application project narrative highlights Montague’s climate-related challenges as including “flooding, extreme temperatures, wildfires, invasive species and climate migration.” The narrative also recapped that Montague’s MVP plan found that “the most threatening hazards” include infrastructure and transportation concerns, vacant industrial land, erosion, fire hazards and flood zones.

“The angle I am proposing for the MVP program … is to infuse climate change preparedness throughout the plan and do it robustly in each chapter,” Ramsey said.

Should grant funding be awarded, the consultant hired would likely be from the Franklin Regional Council of Governments, Ramsey said. The consultant would be paid $85 per hour to complete planning and development for six chapters, as well as conduct community engagement and project coordination. Ramsey said work would include writing the plan, working with citizen advisors and returning to the Planning Board in anticipation of the plan’s adoption at Town Meeting.

Ramsey emphasized the importance of public input, proposing development of a community engagement plan. He also suggested that the town distribute a stipend for residents to participate in a citizen’s advisory panel, as well as child care assistance, in an effort “to get people to actually show up.”

The town would be responsible for matching at least 25% of the grant funding amount over fiscal years 2023 and 2024. Montague intends to fund up to $28,000 over the two-year period via in-kind and in-cash contributions. The in-kind contribution, valued at $15,000, would include administrative support through dedicated staff time. The in-cash contribution, to be valued at $13,000, would be made available from the community development discretionary fund or an alternative appropriation decided by the Selectboard.

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or jmendoza@recorder.com.


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