Westfield residents give input about open space and recreation plan

Towns and cities across Massachusetts have the option to develop an Open Space Recreation Plan

PVPC Senior Planner Jaimye Bartak discusses the presentation about open space. (Photo by Greg Fitzpatrick)

WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) – The Open Space and Planning Committee held their first of two public sessions on Wednesday night at North Middle School to resident apathy as only nine people attended. The second session will take place at South Middle School on Thursday June 22.

The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission is heading the effort through a District Local Technical Assistance grant.

Jaimye Bartak, who is a Senior Planner for PVPC, started off Wednesday night’s meeting by giving Westfield residents and members of the committee a presentation about open space.

Towns and cities across Massachusetts have the option to develop an Open Space Recreation Plan and if they do so it needs to be re-evaluated every seven years. Westfield last adopted their plan in 2010 and by having one it gives the Whip city the chance to be eligible for grants.

Bartak expressed the significance of taking advantage of adopting the OSRP and using the grants available.

“It’s really important,” said Bartak. “It can yield a lot of funding for your town.”

Allowing those in attendance to brainstorm their ideas about potential open space ideas in Westfield, Bartak wanted to see what people saw as a big picture vision for open space.

The ideas included protecting the farmlands around the Wyben area of town, leaving scenic vistas open and not developed, and all neighborhoods throughout the city should have access to active and passive recreation without getting into a vehicle.

Other ideas are expanding Hampton Ponds State Park and making it more ADA accessible, protecting land that is available in every neighborhood, and having more signs that show information about animals and their habitats.

The public session then dove deeper into more specific needs that people would want to see for open space. A main topic point was connecting the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail to the North side of town. Another resident at the meeting wanted to see parking and access to Russell Road, and a playground to the Little River Fire Station. Dog park maintenance, protecting Camp Shepherd, and also making repairs to Stanley Park were among others.

For more information on the OSRP, visit www.cityofwestfield.org/openspaceplan and an online survey will also be available.

Copyright 2017 The Westfield News