Westfield to assess climate change vulnerability

Jay Vinskey, City Planner for Westfield. (WESTFIELD NEWS FILE PHOTO)

WESTFIELD – City Planner Jay Vinskey announced that Westfield has received a $32,000 grant for Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) to assess local vulnerability resilience to climate change.
The  program provides support for cities and towns in Massachusetts to begin the process of planning for climate change resiliency and implementing priority projects. The state awards communities with funding to complete vulnerability assessments and develop action-oriented resiliency plans. Communities who complete the MVP program become certified as an MVP community and are eligible for MVP Action grant funding and other opportunities.
The program helps communities to define climate related hazard; understand how they may be impacted by climate change; identify existing and future climate vulnerabilities and strengths; opportunities to take action to reduce risk, and to implement priority actions.
Vinskey, who applied for the grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, said the funds will be used to hire an outside consultant from a state-approved list to work with a city working group on a plan.
“We are now a certified MVP community, which enables us to enter the next phase of funding,” Vinskey said. He said flooding is one of the major issues in Westfield.
Vinskey said he also worked on the city’s Hazard Mitigation Plan through the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, which he called a parallel process, more focused on resiliency. He said the MVP is climate-change specific.
Through the grant, the city will also have access to the latest science and data, which may be found at www.resilientma.org.

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