The City of Chicopee Department of Planning & Development has partnered with the University of Massachusetts Amherst Regional Planning Studio to coordinate a public engagement initiative in the neighborhood of Aldenville. This is the fourth year that the Chicopee Planning Department and UMass Amherst’s Graduate Planning Studios have collaborated on a community planning and visioning activity. From the Memorial Drive Revitalization project in 2014 to 2016’s Networks of Opportunity, the students at UMass and Planning Department staff have worked together to study the needs of City residents and stakeholders in order to advance a mission to improve overall quality of life in Chicopee.
The goal of this year’s project is to gather opinions from residents and non-residents who live, work, shop, or engage in a variety of activities in the Aldenville neighborhood in order to inform a future City-wide visioning activity. The City of Chicopee selected Aldenville as a pilot study with the ultimate goal of designing a larger public engagement initiative that will query Chicopee residents on the City’s amenities. Aldenville was chosen as it represents a microcosm of the greater City—occupying a central geographic location in Chicopee and reflecting comparable demographics to the City as a whole.
We are using an online survey (www.createourchicopee.com) which can be taken with a computer, smartphone, or by paper. The survey will close on November 10th.
Planning Director Lee M. Pouliot commented on the initiative, saying that “[it] is important for the City to request feedback from its residents and stakeholders. The purpose of this initiative is to determine the most effective methods for reaching and interacting with Chicopee residents and visitors of all ages. We look forward to hearing the voices of residents and visitors as we look towards developing long-term visions for the City and its diverse neighborhoods.”
Residents and stakeholders have responded enthusiastically to this opportunity to engage with the City and the UMass students. Councilor Gary Labrie, who represents Ward 8 and a majority of residents who live in the Aldenville neighborhood, stated that “[the] survey engages residents of Ward 8 and Aldenville in a meaningful fashion. As the Ward Councilor who represents a predominant portion of the neighborhood, I am pleased to know that responses from the community regarding their experiences living in Aldenville will be available for me to consider while serving as their Councilor.”
Mayor Richard J. Kos, who has supported multiple forms of community outreach initiatives and events, stated: “As public officials serving the residents of Chicopee and the Greater Chicopee community, we have a need to understand the opinions of the public. This survey takes a proactive approach to determining the best steps for engaging with residents on a City-wide basis. We are proud to be a City that cares about its residents’ needs and works every day to improve the quality of life in Chicopee.”
You may access the Create Our Chicopee Aldenville Survey at www.createourchicopee.com. Any questions regarding the public engagement initiative or survey may be directed to Assistant Planner, Jack S. Benjamin, at (413) 594-1485 or firstname.lastname@example.org.