The City of Westfield was recently awarded a $32,000 planning grant by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program to complete a public engagement and climate resilience planning process by June 30th. The Planning Department has taken the lead with the MVP program, with participation of a Core Team of City staff to plan for ways to better prepare and protect the City from natural and climate-related hazards. Tighe & Bond, a Westfield-based consulting firm, is assisting the City with this endeavor. Once the plan is completed and approved by EEA, the City will be designated as an MVP Community, joining 287 communities across Massachusetts that have been so-designated since the MVP program began in 2017. This designation will also open up new state funding opportunities across various sectors.
Climate resilience is the ability of a community to address the needs of its built, social and natural environment to anticipate, cope with, and rebound stronger from events and trends related to climate change hazards. Planning for climate resilience allows Westfield to build capacity to reduce the impacts from future climate events rather than just react to events as they occur.
MVP is a community-driven process to understand local climate vulnerabilities and identify priority actions. The process provides structured opportunities for targeted public engagement through review of community specific mapping and climate data, participation in unique Community Resilience Building Workshops, and developing priority action plans to improve their community’s resilience with an emphasis on nature-based solutions. Some Westfield-specific data includes:
The MVP Core Team has identified 100+ stakeholders and organizations, and we are now conducting virtual public engagement with them to receive broader input on the planning process. (The MVP Planning Grant process typically includes in-person meetings and workshops; however, due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the MVP program has been altered to accommodate social distancing and stay-at-home advisories.) After the workshop process is complete, a public listening session will be held at the June 16th Planning Board meeting to engage the broader community and present the final draft of the MVP Summary of Findings Report.