WESTBOROUGH – Jenny Gingras sees Westborough beyond graphs, charts and plans.
“I look at the community as a whole, a place to live and work together,” she said.
In her position as the town’s director of planning, she oversees what happens in much of the town – zoning bylaws, subdivision rules and regulations, implementing the master plan, the open space and recreation plan, the housing plan and more.
Gingras took over last summer from Jim Robbins, who retired after more than 30 years as town planner.
Before she went into municipal administration, Gingras worked as a paralegal in Florida.
“It gives me a good perspective on things,” she said.
Before coming to Westborough, Gingras worked as a town planner in Pepperell and as a zoning administrator in Lexington.
A top priority for Gingras is hiring a planner specializing in transportation.
Currently, the town is serviced by the Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA), which runs Via, an on-demand transportation service accessible with a mobile app or by phone.
“Via is not always reliable,” said Gingras.
Overall, ridership on the WRTA has been rising, “and we see it only trending upward,” she said.
However, federal funding for the WRTA is scheduled to end in June 2024; there may be one more year, but after that, Gingras said they “are looking at other opportunities.”
“We need a better transportation service for our residents,” she said.
A transportation planner would also help oversee the construction of the former Boston Worcester Air Line Trail (BWALT) into a multi-use recreation path.
Gingras said this project is in collaboration with the Department of Public Works, with help from the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission.
On the housing front, Gingras sees a trend away from the “McMansions” built during the 1980s and 1990s and toward smaller houses geared for seniors and families with younger children.
“I hope to get more dwellings geared to middle incomes and seniors,” she said.
Gingras credits “a great staff,” including Administrative Assistant Kristen Belanger and Director of Community Development Fred Lonardo, for helping the Planning Department run smoothly.
“Westborough’s a great community,” she said. “Everyone here is very supportive. There’s a lot of potential.”
For more information about the Planning Department, visit www.westboroughma.gov/planning.