Survey out for Southwick’s Open Space Plan

SOUTHWICK – A survey was sent out two weeks ago to all residents in Southwick regarding the 2019 Open Space and Recreation Plan and town officials are urging residents to send the survey back to the town, along with their tax forms that are due on November 28. If residents forget to send the survey along with their tax bill, they can bring it to the Southwick Town Hall.

The Open Space and Recreation Committee is continuing to look at their plan that’s due in November of 2019. (WNG File Photo)

The survey features 11 questions and asks residents about several different recreational opportunities in Southwick and the surrounding area, and whether they take part in those activities.

The Open Space and Recreation Committee is hoping the survey will give them a better sense of what the community wants to see in Southwick moving forward and what to include or exclude in their updated plan for 2019.

“It shows the commonwealth that it wasn’t just a couple of people doing it (the plan), it was done by several people,” said Open Space Committee member Russ Fox. “It’s important.”

The committee was 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 created in 2011 and the deadline for them to renew the plan is November of 2019. The plan allows municipalities to apply to various grants from the state.

The committee is looking to keep the majority of the process internal. Committee member Russ Fox has noted that a majority of the 2019 plan will look similar to 2011, but some things have changed recreationally in Southwick since 2011. This includes the additions of Whalley Park and a disc golf facility, but losing the Southwick Country Club. In the previous plan from 2011, Southwick was also no longer the host of the Motocross Nationals.

The Southwick Open Space Plan and Recreation Committee at a meeting on October 25. (WNG File Photo)

Due to the limited changes that are expected to be made with the new plan, the committee isn’t planning on spending $10,000 or more to create a plan. If the committee did spend that amount of money, they would have to send out at least three RFP’s (Request for Proposals) to organizations to assist them with the process.

For Southwick’s current plan implemented in 2012, they received help from PVPC (Pioneer Valley Planning Commission). The consultant gathered data and statistics to help the committee create the plan.  Fox noted that since the committee is looking at spending less than $10,000, they could ask for help from one organization, and PVPC will be in consideration.

The Community Preservation Committee has already agreed to take up to four or five percent out of their administrative account in order to use that money to hire a consultant.

In order to view the survey or fill it out, click on the Open Space and Recreation page from the Find it Fast page on the Town of Southwick website.

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