City of Fitchburg News

Posted on: September 12, 2017

Fitchburg to Host (Re)Building Downtown Workshop

 

[Fitchburg, MA] – The City of Fitchburg will receive a grant-funded technical assistance workshop delivered by Smart Growth America (SGA). The (Re)Building Downtown workshop helps communities create walkable development quickly and efficiently. It is provided to the City of Fitchburg at no cost through a Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Grant to Smart Growth America from the US EPA's Office of Sustainable Communities.

As a national leader in the field, Smart Growth America has accumulated extensive experience working with communities to realize the benefits of smart growth. Smart growth strategies help towns and cities across the country grow stronger economically by using land strategically, making the most of existing resources and using public funds to catalyze private development.

The (Re)Building Downtown workshop will draw on this expertise to provide actionable steps that the community can use to overcome the barriers to smart growth and build stronger economies now and for generations to come.  During the workshop, SGA works with local public officials to clarify local challenges and identify strategies to do this; including improving regulations for land use, establishing clear public investment practices, and reforming administrative processes.  

Technical assistance leader John Robert Smith, SGA’s Senior Policy Advisor and former mayor of Meridian, Mississippi noted, "There are distinct parallels between my hometown and Fitchburg.  In Meridian, we successfully revitalized downtown through a focus on our multimodal transportation center, restored opera house, city hall, downtown residential development, and on the arts.  I look forward to sharing my experience and I am optimistic that Fitchburg will find value in the workshop process and will create their own vision for a vibrant downtown."

Mayor Stephen DiNatale explains, “This technical assistance offered by Smart Growth America is a great example of our ongoing economic development efforts here in Fitchburg. The workshop will be a valuable tool to guide us in making informed decisions as we revitalize the downtown.  Our city will also gain a broader understanding of smart growth for both planning and development.”

The workshop involves a half-day citywide tour of the neighborhoods in Fitchburg, followed by an evening presentation open to the public before the City Council on Tuesday, Sept. 19 (7pm) at Memorial Middle School. The second full-day of the workshop includes a guided planning discussion which will ultimately result in a Next Steps Memo outlining smart growth strategies that can be implemented locally.

The program is made possible through a Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities grant to Smart Growth America from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Sustainable Communities. The Office of Sustainable Communities sponsors a variety of programs that help interested communities grow in ways that benefit families and businesses, while protecting the environment and preserving a sense of place.

Smart Growth America is the only national organization dedicated to researching, advocating for and leading coalitions to bring smart growth practices to more communities nationwide. From providing more sidewalks to ensuring more homes are built near public transportation or that productive farms remain a part of our communities, smart growth helps make sure people across the nation can live in great neighborhoods. For additional information visit www.smartgrowthamerica.org.

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