By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – At the Annual Town Meeting that was held on August 8, the importance of open space and recreation was referenced multiple times in discussing several of the warrant articles. The two are priorities to many of the town’s residents, which has been made more evident during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Town’s Open Space and Recreation Plan Committee will be hosting a virtual public forum via Zoom on Monday, Aug. 31 from 6 -7:30 p.m. This is an opportunity for those interested to share their vision for open space and recreation in Shrewsbury.
“Under the extreme circumstances we’re working under now with COVID, unfortunately we have to have the forum virtually,” noted Assistant Town Manager Kristen Las.
The Committee oversees the Shrewsbury Open Space and Recreation Plan (OSRP,) which dates back to 2000 and has since expired. The purpose of the public forum is to gain input to update the plan.
“The town of Shrewsbury has been working for over a year to update the open space and recreation plan which is a document that outlines the open space and recreation areas we have within the town of Shrewsbury and also documents other pieces of property that could be suitable for potential open space and recreation areas,” Las explained.
The outcome of the document will then serve as a series of goals and action items.
“The state requires us to do this every seven years to be eligible for certain grants, and public input is a critical aspect of the update process,” she added.
The Open Space and Recreation Plan Committee was formed in June of 2011 with one member appointed from each of the following: the Planning Board, Conservation Commission, and Parks and Cemetery Commission and one at-large member by the Board of Selectmen.
According to the OSRP webpage: https://shrewsburyma.gov/268/Open-Space-Recreation-Plan-Committee, “an OSRP allows a municipality to maintain and enhance all the benefits of open space that together make up much of the character of the community and protect the “green infrastructure” of the community.”
The “green infrastructure” includes: water supply, land, working farms and forests, viable wildlife habitats, parks, recreation areas, trails and greenways.
The webpage also said that planning this “green infrastructure” is as important to the economic future of a community as planning for schools, roads, and water and wastewater infrastructure.
“We are looking to wrap up the project…we hope that people will participate and provide their input as it is very valuable in how we want to see the Town moving forward related to open space and recreation,” Las said.
To attend this forum visit: https://shrewsburyma.gov/forms.aspx?FID=62 or contact the Shrewsbury Planning Department by phone to be added to the lit of attendees, 508-841-8512.