Launching an Economic Development
Initiative for Charlemont
Members of the Planning Board recently have talked about how to rouse up
energy in the community for revitalizing the economy in town. There are some
positive developments to explore and exploit, and new ideas are buzzing
We therefore applied to the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG)
for help with updating the economic development section of our 7 year old
Master Plan. This section from 2004 had created a good list of
recommendations; several of those have already been accomplished, some are no
The Planning Board hopes that there is enough interest to bring together a
group of people as an independent Charlemont Economic Action Roundtable
that will generate some short term project ideas, work with the COG staff on
the update and hopefully continue towards implementing new recommendations
that have grown out of the groupís discussions and the trends and
information from the Master Plan section.
The Planning Board is taking this initiative but will not maintain
leadership of such a group!
As a first step we call on residents, business people, and public
officials to get together with us and FRCOG staff to talk about what might
work in town, set priorities, bring in your insight and expertise, and review
The FRCOG-related part of this effort will end in late November; we hope to
have the chapter update done by then. After that the Planning Board will no
longer be in any position of responsibility.
Here are a few more ideas about this (just suggestions and brain teasers!)
The purpose of the economic initiative so far is two-fold:
1) To inspire residents and business people of Charlemont to take
pride and confidence in our town and
2) To work together towards creating a thriving economy.
Over the last years it has become clear that our best asset is our
environment: our beautiful river and its valley, our mountains, our
vistas, historic sites, farms and woods and State Forests. It is for that
reason that businesses like Berkshire East, Zoar Outdoors and Crabapple have
ventured into major investments; they see what we have here.
We need to work together to create a town that blends the active and
passive recreational opportunities we offer with a vibrant downtown so it all
We need to work together to find ways for providing the kind of
infrastructure and services that make the use of our river, forests and
mountains enjoyable, safe, clean and viable in the long term rather than
turning into an uncontrollable burden on the town.
For this we need to work together to promote our town as a whole.