Town of Athol Athol, MA
Community Planning for the Town of Athol
BSC Group has been a partner to the Town of Athol for a number of community planning and economic development efforts. This has taken shape through a variety of initiatives, including Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness planning, analysis of reuse options for specific downtown sites, and zoning and bylaw support.
Working with funding through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program, BSC led a two-tiered program to build a more resilient community. The first element of the program involved collaboration with the Town to facilitate a community-based effort to identify and assess infrastructure vulnerabilities to climate change.
The second program component, undertaken with an MVP action grant, involved development of the Community Plan for Social Resilience. Coined “Athol Helping Athol: A Community Plan for Social Resilience,” the program conducted in-depth community engagement to reveal four key factors for the Town’s socially just adaptation planning: collaborative governance, food and housing, transportation, and economic opportunity.
In addition to the MVP programs, BSC’s planners have worked with the Town of Athol to identify opportunities for economic development in the downtown area. Promoting a vibrant downtown mixed-use district, BSC prepared a community plan that enhances pedestrian circulation and access, improves infrastructure, and creates opportunities for parking and open space.
Finally, BSC has provided additional zoning bylaw support for the Town, including guidance for licensed marijuana establishments. These bylaws seek to protect resident interests by assuring proper security, traffic and parking measures are in place to prevent negative impacts to property values and the general quality of life of the community.