SOUTHWICK – The members of the Open Space and Recreation Committee has been announced. The members are Russ Fox (designated by Select Board, Dennis Clark (designated by Conservation Commission), Bob Horacek (Community Preservation Commission), David Spina (Planning Board), David DeiDolori (Park and Recreation), Mike Sheil (Park and Recreation), and Craig Samuelson (citizen).
Fox is looking forward to the committee coming together.
“We’ve got to get our heads together and see what’s changed, what’s been added, and go from there,” said Fox.
The committee is being formed due to the town of Southwick needing to update their Open Space and Recreation Plan. Every community in Massachusetts has the option to renew their plan every seven years. Southwick’s latest plan was 2011 and the deadline for them to renew the plan is November of 2019.
The plan allows municipalities to apply for various grants from the state. According to the Town of Southwick’s Chief Administrative Officer Karl Stinehart, the town has spoken to PVPC (Pioneer Valley Planning Commission) and their next grant award cycle isn’t available to communities until the winter of 2019. Since Southwick’s plan is due in November of 2019, PVPC is unable to assist them.
The Community Preservation Committee has decided that they’ll fund the cost of the study for the plan out of their admin account. It’s a decision that allows the town to explore other entities to help them with this process.
Fox noted that things have changed recreationally in Southwick since 2011. This includes the additions of Whalley Park and a disc golf facility but losing a golf course in Southwick Country Club. As of the plan in 2011, Southwick was no longer the host of the Motocross Nationals, and that has since changed.
All members of the open space and recreation committee will now have to be sworn in by the Select Board before holding their first meeting. Fox added that they will create a survey for residents to get their thoughts on what they will want for recreation for the near future in Southwick.