Horsley Witten Group, a full-service environmental consulting firm based in Sandwich, has partnered with the City of Chicopee to develop its first-ever comprehensive plan.
The community-driven plan, called Envision our Chicopee: 2040, will guide the western Massachusetts city for the next two decades, and includes an actionable blueprint to achieve its community defined long-term vision for future growth and development.
“Chicopee has conducted neighborhood-level planning in the past, but the time had come for a broader, comprehensive vision for the future of the city,” said Chicopee Director of Planning & Development Lee M. Pouliot. “Developing Envision Our Chicopee: 2040 was a remarkable opportunity to make the things we love about Chicopee even better and fix the things that need to be fixed over the course of the next 20 years. The plan prioritizes future investments in community services and infrastructure that promote fairness and equity throughout the city.”
Envision Our Chicopee: 2040 addresses several land development and socioeconomic issues affecting the former mill city that was built around distinct neighborhood centers, borders two rivers, and has significant transportation infrastructure including railways and major highway routes.
Components of the plan include brownfields redevelopment, zoning reform, land use and development, affordable housing, open space and recreation, historic preservation, public health, and transportation. Developing resiliency solutions for the effects of climate change were included throughout the plan, as were initiatives to maintain a strong sense of diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the city, its facilities and services.
The Chicopee Planning Board unanimously approved the comprehensive plan in late September.
“An immediate priority of the plan’s implementation will be a complete rewrite of the city’s zoning code, which hasn’t been substantially updated since 1974,” said Pouliot. “We need to be more creative with mixed-use development, infill development, address minimum parking standards, and consider the future of the exclusive single-family only Residential A District.”
“The beginning of a renaissance for the City of Chicopee, which is often referred to as ‘The Crossroads of New England,’ is underway and will continue for the next 20 years and beyond,” said Jeff Davis, Project Planner at Horsley Witten Group. “I applaud the City of Chicopee and its residents for embracing a bold vision for the future and a commitment to making the community a better and more equitable place to live, work and thrive in the years ahead.”
The Envision Our Chicopee 2040 plan can be found here.
In addition to Chicopee, Horsley Witten Group has participated in the long-term planning processes for more than a dozen New England municipalities, as well as communities in Arkansas, Hawaii, Maryland, and South Carolina.