CMRPC Newsletter

October, 2022

Outreach for the Long-Range Transportation Plan Underway! Next up, Planning and Implementation

You are invited to participate and contribute to the development of the LRTP,

2050 Connections!


August was a busy month for the CMRPC Transportation Department. Between outreach events and regional infrastructure meetings, the public participation portion of this Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) has been quite a success. Nonetheless, we are still hoping to see survey responses roll in throughout this Fall. Our 2050 Connections survey can be found here or on the CMRPC website under the transportation tab. 

As a part of the public outreach portion of this LRTP, CMRPC Transportation staff tabled at many public events this August. From the Out-to-Lunch gathering on Worcester Common, to the Apple Country Fair in Brookfield and the Street Art Festival on Park Avenue back in Worcester, we have made an extensive effort to spread word about this project to as many residents of the region as possible. Through this process, we have gathered survey responses from a variety of people and have had many insightful and impactful conversations about transportation in this region.  

One of the most recurring conversations regarding transportation that we are having at these outreach events involves public transit. CMRPC staff recognizes how important public transit is to the residents of Worcester and the county at large. We are very pleased that the city is continuing to offer free rides on the WRTA through June 2023. However, we recognize that public transit in the city and beyond still needs vast improvements, from recognizing all the needs of those with disabilities to ensuring our children have safe routes to school, whether on foot or on a bus. CMRPC staff are constantly looking for ways in which we can help our residents, whether that is helping towns find the grants they need for infrastructure improvement or amplifying the voices of those who experience transportation related stressors. If you or someone you know would like to share their ideas and opinions related to transit in the region, we strongly recommend filling out our online survey or reaching out via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or email.  

Moreover, both the CMRPC Transportation staff and the Regional Planning staff have been working together to meet with each town and discuss all topics related to infrastructure that could be incorporated into our LRTP. Specifically, we have had five sub-regional summits, from the towns in the northeast portion of the county to the southwest portion of the county. More information about these regional infrastructure meetings can be found further down in this newsletter.  


Please visit for regular, periodic updates on the development of 2050 Connections as well as the opportunities to participate at a range of public outreach venues. Additionally, please be sure to fill out the 2050 Connections survey here: .

Any other questions, please email [email protected] to speak with CMRPC’s Public Outreach Coordinator.  

Imagine 2050 Visioning Survey Results

After a rewarding summer filled with tabling at craft fairs, meeting directly with Central MA stakeholders, and promoting the Imagine 2050 visioning survey, we have your results!

See how hundreds of Central MA residents Imagine 2050:

Our survey respondents "Imagine a 2050 in Central Massachusetts with..."

Read the Survey Results

What's Next for Imagine 2050?

CMRPC staff members are hard at work integrating 1,150 open ended comments & the most up to date data sources into Imagine 2050.

Visioning Sessions keep the conversation going with your organization, board, or even BBQ cookout guests. These sessions are an opportunity to go deeper into the topics explored in the survey & have your voice heard for important goals pertaining to housing, transportation, food access, and so much more!

Learn more about Visioning Sessions

For additional info about Imagine 2050, please email Sarah O'Brien at [email protected]

Creative Placemaking Project Dedication at Barre Housing Authority

On Thursday, September 29th, nearly 30 invited guests gathered at the Barre Housing Authority (BHA) to officially celebrate the completion of the Creative Placemaking Project. In 2020, the BHA was awarded capital funds from the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to improve the property’s common spaces and use creative placemaking strategies to encourage art and design that promote socially connected communities and resident well-being. An effort spearheaded by the BHA’s Executive Director Paul Teixeira, the project was a collaboration between BHA residents and staff, local artist Jen Swan, architect Christopher Novelli, and CMRPC staff Janet Pierce and Emily Glaubitz, with support from staff at DHCD. Resident engagement was at the core of this exciting project, hence CMRPC was contracted to conduct a community survey and interviews to ensure any project decisions were in sync with the wishes of residents. 

The new improvements feature a bocce court, benches, pergolas, lighting, art installations, birdhouses, raised garden beds, new plants and landscaping, and outdoor exercise equipment, all connected by a paved walking path on the perimeter of the property. A series of art workshops were conducted by Jen Swan, giving residents the opportunity to paint birdhouses and murals, as well as craft their own cement bird baths. Residents at the dedication ceremony commented that they now use the outdoor spaces frequently and Paul Teixeira noted that over his nearly 40-year career in affordable housing, the project has been one of the most rewarding. 

For more information or inquiries, contact Emily Glaubitz at [email protected]

Age Friendly Central Mass Releases Survey Summary Report

Age Friendly Central Mass, an initiative spearheaded by CMRPC with support from local Councils on Aging, municipalities, and other organizations including the Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative, launched earlier this year to pursue a regional age friendly designation through AARP. In June of 2022, AARP recognized Age Friendly Central Mass as an emerging age friendly region, with the notion that the initiative would continue public participation to support the development of an age friendly action plan. The public participation phase ran from April 27th to August 26th aligned with the active period of the Community Age Friendly Needs Assessment survey. During this time, CMRPC also coordinated five public listening sessions, four of which took place throughout the region and one that was held virtually. The survey received 275 responses throughout this period and has been culminated into a survey summary report which provides detailed context of the Central Massachusetts region with an age friendly lens and analyzes the survey results to understand the needs of older adults.  

With the closing of the public participation phase, Age Friendly Central Mass will begin developing an age friendly action plan for the region using the information gathered during the public listening sessions, survey results, and knowledge of the regions’ infrastructure and resources for older adults. The Age Friendly Action Plan is expected to be completed by the end of December 2022 in which the initiative will be seeking the full age friendly designation from AARP as well as a dementia friendly designation from Dementia Friendly Massachusetts.  

For more information about Age Friendly Central Mass or to learn how you can participate in the Action Plan development process, please contact Faye Rhault at [email protected]. 

Bringing the Main Street America Program

to Central Mass.

Thursday, October 20, 2022 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM EDT

Asa Waters Mansion

123 Elm Street

Millbury, MA 01527

Have you every wondered what a Main Street America Program would look like in your community? Curious how it works or how to get started?

Please join us as we welcome 

Kathy LaPlante, Senior Director of Coordinating Programs at Main Street America,

to give an overview and answer all of your questions. Click on the link below to register.

Register Now!

Email [email protected] with any questions!

Safe Routes to School Update

Safe Routes to School (SRTS) has recently included high schools into the program, making all of K-12 eligible for SRTS programming and funding mechanisms. As a recent addition to the program, education and encouragement activities are still being determined to best suit the needs of older students. However, services currently offered by SRTS including Walk, Bike, and Roll to School Days, Arrival and Dismissal Observations, Family Travel Surveys, and Walk Audits can still support students safely walking and biking to school.

Walk, Bike, and Roll to School Days

Celebrated successfully with younger students, Walk, Bike, and Roll to School Days encourage students to engage in active transportation and reduce congestion during arrival and dismissal.

Arrival and Dismissal Observations

Examination of arrival and dismissal analyzes how vehicles and buses interact in and around the school to determine levels of congestion, potential conflict, and identify potential solutions for smoother operation.

Family Travel Survey

The Parent/Guardian Travel Survey gauges how and where students travel to and from school to understand the distance travelled by students as well as the number of students that live within an appropriate radius of the school that could potentially walk or bike to school.

Walk Audit

Walk audits are a tool used to analyze pedestrian facilities in a given area to understand accessibility, safety, and connectivity needs. This tool can further be used within the radius of a school to analyze walkability and overall walking conditions for students and identify areas of improvement.

Aside from the addition of high schools into the program, SRTS recently opened the Infrastructure Grant Program which funds large-scale bicycle and pedestrian improvement within proximity to any partner school that would encourage students’ ability to walk, bike, or roll to school. Grant applications are due by Friday, November 18th.

To learn more about Safe Routes to School or the grant programs offered to partner schools and communities, please contact Faye Rhault at [email protected]

CMRPC Staff Hosts Sub-Regional Transportation and Infrastructure Summits Throughout the County 

Beginning in late August, CMRPC staff began the process of meeting with representatives from each town in Southern Worcester County to facilitate critical conversations related to our work. Divided into five sub-regions, CMRPC staff descended to Dudley in the Southwest, Westborough in the Northeast, North Brookfield in the West, Grafton in the Southeast and West Boylston in the Northeast region. Several dozen town employees and municipal or elected officials were invited to join us to discuss all topics related to transportation and infrastructure. CMRPC staff also met with the city of Worcester prior to this process to discuss transportation and are arranging to meet with them again to discuss infrastructure.  

The Transportation Staff reviewed their Long-Range Transportation Plan, called 2050 Connections, and how community input plays a crucial role in how future projects and priorities are decided. The transportation staff also encouraged attendees to take their online survey that directly impacts 2050 Connections, which can be found on the CMRPC website. The major areas of concern related to transportation included public transportation, road conditions and safe routes to school as well as updating outdated bridges and culverts. Each town and subsequent officials and employees were exposed to State and Federal grants that relate to their specific areas of concern, as well as other resources offered by CMRPC, such as culvert assessment programs. 


The Regional Collaboration and Community Planning group listened to municipal areas of concerns regarding infrastructure and offered pages of resources both available and coming down the pike. In infrastructure portion of each summit was divided into sections based on the type of municipal infrastructure, including water, sewer and stormwater, energy, electricity and internet connectivity. One topic that most sub-regions were vastly interested in was renewable energies, as many individual communities are making changes to become more energy efficient.


For those who could not make it to their sub-regional infrastructure summit, CMRPC is hosting a virtual infrastructure summit that is open to anyone in the whole county as well as interested residents. The first session will be held on October 20th from 10am to 12pm and will cover the topic of transportation, while the second session will be held on October 27th from 10am to 12pm and will go over all topics related to infrastructure. The zoom links to each of these events can be found on the CMRPC website on the calendar. 


For any other questions or comments related to the sub-regional infrastructure summits and the upcoming virtual summits, please email Kerrie Salwa at [email protected]

Resilient Central Massachusetts

Between Green Communities, Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness, Hazard Mitigation, Open Space and Recreation Plans and beyond, CMRPC is committed to ensuring that all of our communities are resilient and prepared for a green future. And it isn’t just CMRPC that is helping our towns become more resilient against climate change, the Commonwealth has a variety of programs, funding sources, and resources to help residents, businesses, and town governments invest in climate friendly infrastructure and create resiliency focused plans and projects. There’s so much happening right now, we can’t possibly put everything into one newsletter article. That’s why we want you to be on the lookout in the coming weeks for a special resiliency focused newsletter detailing the work we are currently doing as well as some opportunities available to our communities.

In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding our climate resiliency work, please contact Ian McElwee at [email protected].

Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for FY 2022 National Culvert Removal, Replacement, and Restoration Grant Program (Culvert AOP Program)

The program is referred to as the Culvert Aquatic Organism Passage (AOP) Program and funds will be awarded on a competitive basis for the replacement, removal, repair, and improvement of culverts or weirs that would meaningfully improve or restore fish passage for anadromous fish. Anadromous fish species are born in freshwater such as streams and rivers, spend most of their lives in the marine environment, and migrate back to freshwater to spawn, like salmon, sturgeon river herring, striped bass, and other species. The Culvert AOP Program seeks applications from States and local units who are seeking projects to improve or restore fish passage for anadromous fish. 

View a copy of the NOFO.  

Eligible grant applications must be submitted electronically through no later than 11:59pm Eastern Time, on February 6, 2023. 


On October 26, 2022, from 1:30 to 3:00pm, the Department of Transportation (DOT) will conduct a virtual outreach webinar regarding the Culvert AOP Program. To register for the webinar follow the instructions posted on the Culvert AOP Program Website (FHWA) website. The webinar will also be recorded and posted at the website above.  

For further information: 

  • Rick Murray, Agreement Officer, Office of Acquisition and Grants Management 
  • Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) 
  • U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) 
  • Email: [email protected]  

If you have any questions or would like to discuss further, please email Associate Transportation Planner Zachary Blais, [email protected]

CMMPO North Subregion Election Selection 

On September 27th, CMMPO staff (CMRPC transportation planning staff) hosted a CMMPO Information and Member selection meeting for the North subregion to elect a Representative and Alternate. Selectboard members from the Towns of Barre, Holden, Oakham, Paxton, Princeton, Rutland, and West Boylston were invited. Following a presentation and some discussion, Stephanie Mulroy (Holden Selectboard) was elected to be the North subregion Representative and Kirk Huehls (Paxton Selectboard) was elected to be the North subregion Alternate. Their three-year term will start on October 1st 2022 and end on September 30th 2025. 

Please contact Transportation Associate Planner Zachary Blais, [email protected], if you have any questions or comments.

Members of CMRPC's Regional Collaboration and Community Planning team enjoyed a beautiful fall evening at the Wachusett Resevoir & Dam in Clinton, MA (no, not technically in our region, but close...). Believe it or not, sometimes we get out of the office and off of our computers!

Indigenous Planning

Map of a rough estimate of pre-contact (before European settlement) borders in southern 

New England

In recognition of Indigenous Peoples Day, we thought we’d share a few ideas about indigenous planning and offer a brief history of the Nipmuc people that have lived in Central Mass long before European colonists arrived here in the 1600s. 

The classic tradition of indigenous planning (IP) existed before European settlement. Now indigenous planning is mostly concerned with settler-state interaction with indigenous peoples. Modern indigenous planning unfolds in the context of an ongoing legacy of colonization, an urban scene that conceals the existence of indigeneity, and the issue of finding the ideal connection between settler and indigenous planning spheres.

A strong definition of IP is found in Porter (2017). Indigenous planning consists of:

“Indigenous people making decisions about their place (whether in the built or natural environment) using their knowledge (and other knowledges), values and principles to define and progress their present and future social, cultural, environmental and economic aspirations.”


Also as stated in Hibbard (2022):

“The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007) recognizes the rights of Indigenous peoples to exist as distinct peoples and communities; to own, use, and control land and resources; to maintain and develop institutions, and to protect intellectual and cultural property. Indigenous planning has reemerged in settler states to defend and strengthen those rights, through institutions that enable and promote planning with cultural integrity”.


Indigenous planning reflects the broader shift in the field of planning over the last century to more bottom-up, participatory planning processes. The efforts to establish a working relationship with indigenous groups can enhance planning processes more generally. This development of a working relationship would accompany the advocacy for change in other local, regional, and state institutions involved in planning (Porter, 2017; Hibbard, 2022).

RPAs in Massachusetts may be uniquely suited to initiate these discussions in our state. Many CMRPC projects already involve building community, creating relationships between people and groups, fostering a sense of place and connectedness, and remaining informed by the errors of past practices. CMRPC’s track record suggests that it’s well-equipped to explore the possibilities of indigenous planning.

As the above graphic depicts, our initial role as state-based planners in indigenous planning is to engage in “reflection and reconciliation.” Part of this involves us initiating a real dialogue with the indigenous communities living in our region that can pave the way toward collaborative planning and collective action. It also involves getting a more accurate understanding of our colonial history and race relations, particularly in Central Massachusetts (Porter, 2017). 

If you’d like to be involved in the discussion of how CMRPC could help further indigenous planning in Massachusetts, feel free to reach out to Sam Carter at [email protected]. Also, see the papers below for more information.

Click HERE for a description and history of the Nipmuc people and the dispossession of their lands.

Porter, 2017:

Hibbard, 2022:

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