Officials seek to prioritize master plan goals with Wareham residents
Economic development, services for the elderly and beautification were just a few of the issues that took center stage on Thursday night as members of the public revisited Wareham’s master plan for its first review.
Newly drafted and implemented in May of 2018, the master plan serves as the town’s “blueprint for the future,” addressing goals across various areas such as land use, housing, open space, recreation and transportation.
The 88-page document also helps town officials to work together from a shared vision for the community, allowing them to apply for certain grants and designations from the state.
In its first year, the master plan helped to complete a variety of projects targeted towards the betterment of Wareham and Onset. These projects included a blight study, the formation of the Redevelopment Authority and Wareham’s designation as a “Green Community” to name a few.
“The master plan isn’t a set of detailed instructions,” said Director of Planning and Community Development Ken Buckland. “It’s a guide book built around where we’d like to be in 20 years. Which is why, as we head into 2019, we’re asking residents to once again help us set a direction.”
According to Buckland, 64 Wareham residents completed a survey on the master plan prior to Thursday night’s meeting, which only ten residents physically attended.
“The feedback we received was mostly positive,” Buckland said. “But our residents have a wide variety of areas on which they’d like us to focus next.”
These areas included economic development for depressed areas, beautification for the town’s waterfront, services for the elderly, housing and improvements to existing infrastructure and parking in both Wareham and Onset.
Preserving the character of existing neighborhoods was another large concern, said Buckland.
Yet, as one resident pointed out, the town did not have the means to focus on all of these areas at once. Other residents questioned how the town would be able to enforce these priorities once they were set.
“Are we looking to pass more bylaws at Town Meeting?” one resident asked. “How are we going to get all this done when only ten people showed up to this meeting?”
Meeting attendees suggested that town send out the master plan survey with tax bills so that all residents would have access in the future.
“We all go to different websites and read different newspapers,” said one woman. “We can just rely on people finding and clicking a link.”
As such, Buckland said officials would explore different options for sending out surveys in the coming months. A second public meeting for the master plan has not been set.
“It’s key that we set our priorities,” Buckland said. “But to do that, we do need more people to become involved.”
To view the master plan, visit www.srpedd.org/Wareham-Master-Plan.