Year: 2017

Senior Guidance Website Spotlights Assisted Living, Other Services for Seniors

Senior Guidance (https://www.seniorguidance.org/), an organization dedicated to providing helpful senior living resources for the elderly, has announced a dedicated section on its website that provides detailed and thorough information on Massachusetts assisted living:

https://www.seniorguidance.org/assisted-living/massachusetts/

The Senior Guidance website discusses all services available for seniors living in Massachusetts, outlines helpful state programs, and offers information about assisted living facilities in every city, town and county in Massachusetts.

Conway Now Has Long-Range Financial Plan

The Town of Conway, in conjunction with the Commonwealth Community Compact Program, has adopted a multi-year financial plan that develops financial policies, revenue and expenditure forecasts, and budget documents that reflect Conway’s needs. By Finance Committee approval on June 19, 2017 and by Select Board and Capital Improvement Planning Committee vote on June 26, 2017, the Town of Conway has accepted and expressed its commitment to this Long Range Financial Plan. For full text of the plan click here: CONWAY LongRangePlan 9-7-17.

Wastewater Committee

Conway’s Wastewater Committee was charged with determining the feasibility of creating a wastewater collection and disposal system for the Conway downtown Village area, in order to:

  • Help protect the private and public wells from possible contamination
  • Encourage economic development in the Village Center.
  • Help maintain a vibrant village center

Committee Members

  • Joseph Strzegowski, Chair
  • Michele Novak
  • Marie Iken
  • vacancy

The Committee normally meets every second and fourth Wednesday, 7:00 p.m. at the Town Office.  We welcome guests and would love to have more volunteers for this very important project.

You can email the Committee via planningboard@townofconway.com

NEWS FROM THE COMMITTEE:

July 4, 2016 — Everyone agrees Conway needs a better way to handle wastewater from its downtown homes and businesses. Thanks to the work of Conway’s Wastewater Committee, there are now possible ways to handle that need. Now it is time for the next steps, including developing detailed plans and finding ways to pay for a new system.

The Wastewater Committee shared results of their feasibility study at the Annual Town Meeting on May 9th. The study included a review of septic systems in the downtown area and, with the help of an engineering consultant, developed detailed thoughts of how a community system might work and what the costs might be. Detailed information about the Committee’s findings and conclusions may be found on the Town’s web site, (townofconway.com).

The next phase in the process involves putting together a detailed engineering study and solving problems of long term development, organization and, of course, finances. Nothing will be decided until the project has a full airing in public hearings and appropriation of funds through Town Meeting votes. To proceed to the next step, the Committee is looking to obtain grants that could be used to subsidize the costs of design, development and construction. Grants and other significant financial assistance mechanisms may be available, but the extent of such support is dependent upon the economic needs of the target area.

Income Survey: Although any project of this magnitude will be very expensive, the Committee has learned that there may be several grant options or financial support programs available to the Town and/or individual residents. Availability and extent of these grants are usually income dependent. Therefore, to gain a meaningful picture and to provide information that would enable agencies to calculate financial assistance that may be available for engineering, construction and possibly resident support, the Committee has retained an independent agency to survey the target area for income information. This week, brief surveys will be sent by RCAP Solutions to residents and businesses in Conway’s downtown area asking about earned income levels. In order to gain support for the project, it is necessary that a minimum of 87% of completed surveys be returned. All individual information obtained in this survey will be kept private by the agency and nothing will be shared. The Committee urges residents to complete and return the surveys by August 1st.

The Wastewater Committee currently has four hard-working individuals but needs more help. Anyone who might be interested in this important project for Conway’s future viability is urged to volunteer by contacting Tom Hutcheson, Town Administrator in the Town Office (369-4235 or townadmin@townofconway.com.)

 

June 8, 2016 — The Committee completed its first (Feasibility) phase of the project earlier this year, reporting its results to the people attending the Annual Town Meeting in May, 2016.   The work included an assessment of existing individual septic systems and private water supplies in the Downtown village and analyzed potential health risks in this densely populated target area.  With the help of a septic engineering consultant, the White Consulting Group, the committee looked at the design and possible locations of alternative community septic systems, what they would look like in the Village, and how they would meet the specific needs in Conway.  The Committee did extensive financial modeling to analyze potential costs and to minimize them through available federal and state grants and subsidies.

To see the Full Report of the Committee, please see the REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE TO CONWAY TOWN OFFICIALS (below, including the linked slides).

The next phase of the Project is to ascertain the extent to which grants and subsidies might be available for the engineering, design and construction phases of the project.  The extent of these grants, and the loan interest rates charged, is dependent upon the income level of residents in the target area.  In this respect the Committee, with the help of an independent agency, will be sending a questionnaire to residents during the month of July, asking that they provide income information to the agency.  The only information the town will receive will be aggregate numbers and no personal information will be revealed in any way.

It is important to note that the credibility of the data requires that the response rate to the questionnaires must be 80% or greater in order for it to be accepted by the granting agencies. If you receive a questionnaire in the mail, please fill it out and return it promptly.  Without this data, it’s probable that no financial assistance would be available.

Once this information is received and the granting agencies respond, plans will be made to retain an engineering service to assist in the next steps of design and implementation.

Again, no Town money will be expended without direct appropriation via a town vote.

June 9, 2016 — Income Survey for Downtown Residents Coming Soon to help determine financial assistance available.


REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE TO CONWAY TOWN OFFICIALS — 7 June 2016

Ref: Wastewater feasibility final report May 2016

The Downtown Wastewater feasibility study committee is pleased to present the final report on the feasibility of creating a wastewater collection and sub surface disposal systems for the Conway downtown village area. The proposed systems would collect filtered effluent from the individual septic tanks located at each residence and transport the effluent to one of two sub-surface disposal systems located on either side of the South River through a low pressure/gravity piping system.

Estimated costs for each proposed system is $1,070,000 utilizing the Town owned property located on Shelburne Falls Road and a similar property off Reeds Bridge Road for the disposal system sites. These systems would operate independently and can be constructed at different times if so desired.  Some design, engineering, and bidding benefits could be realized by joint design and construction.

The committee is proceeding with a household income survey of the proposed districts and expects the results in July.  The income survey results will be used to determine the loan interest rates and grant reimbursements available through the USDA Rural Development Program.  Results of the survey will be presented at a later date.

The potential negative environmental and economic impacts of not addressing our wastewater issues could have grave future impacts on our private and public water supplies and the economic viability of our downtown village area.  We encourage you to support further development of a wastewater disposal system for the village center.

It has become apparent to the wastewater committee members that the current infrastructure needs of the town; including wastewater collection, senior housing, community solar, highway garage, public safety, municipal space, etc., will require the identification and acquisition of critical land resources to support these needs. While the topography and land use policies of our town may be the major reasons that we have maintained the town’s treasured rural character, they present unique challenges to strategically locating our infrastructure facilities.  We encourage the Selectboard to initiate steps to address the land resources needed to support our community’s infrastructure needs.

To see the full report of the Committee, click here.

Respectfully,

Wastewater Feasibility Study Committee

Joseph Strzegowski (Chair), Marie Iken, Michele Novak, Dave Chichester

Personnel Committee

Members:

David Barten, Chair, 413-369-4742, abarten@crocker.com

Sue Fentin, 413-575-6658, susan@gsfentin.com

Robert Stone, 413-369-0303, rfstoneesq@comcast.net

Meeting dates: Committee meets quarterly or more frequently if needed. Contact the Chair for next meeting date.

 

Notice to employees: As of April 1, 2018, the new Pregnant Workers Fairness Act goes into effect. For more information about the new law, click here: Guidance on Pregnant Workers Fairness Act 2018-01-23

Parks and Ballfield Projects

Conway Fields 2-24-14

Drainage and Park Improvement Project —

At town meeting in 2011 the town appropriated $5,000 for the Parks, Recreation, and Trails Committee to study drainage repair and overall recreation field improvements in town.  This project completed and project documents follow.  In 2012 the town approved $90,000 for the engineering and permitting required to move forward with construction and applying for available grant monies.  The committee is moving forward quickly with Weston & Sampson Engineering so as to not miss any grant deadlines.  On July 27, 2012 the town also closed on the property at 37 Academy Hill Road, which will be included in the overall planning.

Update: While not being selected for the MassWorks grant in 2012, the committee completed permitting and resubmitted the application in 2013 with changes.  The non-matching grant was awarded in December of 2013 for $997,521.  In February, 2014, another non-matching grant application specific to recreation was submitted requesting $197,000 which would help complete the field underdrains, remaining stormwater, and grading of the field.  Results will be announced in April.

Update: The $197,000 grant was not awarded and initial construction bids were higher than budgeted.   The project was rebid and residents voted on $200,000 of Community Preservation Funds to pay for the unfunded portion (ball field specific) of the park improvements.  The contract was awarded to Mass-West Construction.

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS THE WEEK OF JULY 14, 2014.

Meeting Schedule:

  • The committee meets on the 2nd Wednesday of each month, 6:00 at the Town Office.  No additional meetings are currently scheduled.

The following meetings were held related to this project:

  • July 14, 2014 – Construction began.  Construction is expected to be completed by November.
  • June 16, 2014 – Special Town Meeting (Presentation and CPA Funding), Grammar School, 7:00 PM
  • March 12, 2014 – Informational Meeting (Status, Bidding, Construction Schedule), Town Hall, 7:00 PM
  • August 15, 2012 – Parks Planning Forum, Town Hall, 7:00 PM
  • May 7, 2012 – Pre Town Meeting, Grammar School, 7:00 PM
  • April 26, 2012 – Forum, Grammar School, 7:00 PM

Project Documents:

Open Space Committee

MISSION: The mission of the Open Space Committee (OSC) is to:

  • Serve as a resource to provide information about conservation options
  • Review, revise and propose relevant by laws and policies
  • Facilitate land conservation projects/act as liaison between applicant and Town
  • Assist in the development of proposals to the Community Preservation Committee, when possible
  • Implement the Open Space Plan
  • Work with landowners, committees, and conservation organizations to achieve objectives that provide public benefit to the town

MEMBERS:

  • Tami Borton, Chair
  • Elaine Campbell
  • Janet Chayes (nominated)
  • Don Joralemon
  • Michele Turre

If you are interested in serving on the OSC — or the Town’s Agricultural Commission — please contact Tami Borton at  707-318-2761 (cell), 413-369-4478 (home), or tborton@comcast.net.

MEETINGS: The OSC meets approximately every other month on a varied schedule; please contact Tami Borton (see above) for more information.

2013 Open Space and Recreation Plan

The Open Space and Recreation Plan (OSRP) is a long-term vision and 7-Year Action Plan for the Town and its residents. It provides a comprehensive inventory of the town’s natural, cultural, agricultural, and recreational resources, and an analysis of the Town’s open space and recreation needs. The 7-Year Action Plan contains specific recommendations that, if implemented by town boards, committees and residents, will help to protect the town’s natural resources and open spaces and provide residents with recreation opportunities. This current, state-approved OSRP enables us to apply for open space and recreation grant funding:     Conway OSRP 2013 Final Compiled

Housing Committee

The Housing Committee is currently being reorganized. Please contact the Town Administrator at selectboard@townofconway.com, 413-369-4235 x3, if you need more information about this committee’s activities.

History: The Conway Housing Committee came into being on April 19, 2006 and held its first meeting on May 22, 2006. The initial members were Gary Fentin, Pixie Holbrook, Ed Lareau, and Woody Paparazzo. Pixie Holbrook was selected as chairperson. Over the intervening years, the committee held meetings once or twice a month, typically on Tuesday evenings.

Mission: The purpose of the Housing Committee is to investigate and/or facilitate the creation and support of senior housing, which would include affordable senior housing.

Question & Answer pageFor information including goals, process, parcel information, and plans for communication with town residents/abutters click here: Q&A Housing Committee

To access Senior Housing Final Market Study Report (November 2015), click here: Conway Senior Housing Final Market Study Report 11 12 15

To access Survey on the Need for Senior Housing in Conway (November 2015), click hereConway Survey on Need for Senior Housing

Historical Commission

Members:

Cynthia Bluh

Willis Burnett

Malcolm Corse

Carl Darrow

Laura Nicholls-Shaw

Yulia Stone

Sarah Williams, Chair

New Information About Conway’s Role in the Revolutionary War!

After nearly eight years of painstaking research with help from Conway officials and residents, a local author has published a study of Conway’s Town Meeting Records related to the Revolutionary War. To view a document describing the historical context of events surrounding the American Revolution, and Conway’s role in it, click here:

Conway Records related to Revolutionary War – 4-12-2017

Cultural Council

Conway Cultural Council Grant Funding Deadline

The Conway Cultural Council has set an October 16th deadline for organizations, schools, and individuals to apply for grants that support cultural activities in the community. Proposals for community-oriented arts, humanities, and science programs are due October 16.

These grants can support a variety of artistic projects and activities in Conway — including exhibits, festivals, field trips, short-term artist residencies, or performances in schools, workshops, and lectures.

The Conway Cultural Council is part of a network of 329 Local Cultural Councils serving all 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth. The LCC Program is the largest grassroots cultural funding network in the nation, supporting thousands of community-based projects in the arts, sciences and humanities every year. The state legislature provides an annual appropriation to the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, which then allocates funds to each community.

Previously funded projects include a range of projects including nature walks, school programs, musical performances, support to the Conway 250th Anniversary celebration, and support for local history programs.

For local guidelines and complete information on the Conway Cultural Council, please find information about applications and guidelines online at www.mass-culture.org.

Polly Byers, Co-chair

pollybyers@comcast.net

Click here to print this announcement: 2017 Press_Release_Fall_Announcement-Cultural Council

Chairs: Polly Byers and Erica Wurtz; Members:  Joanne Clapp, Gisele Litalien, Julie Petty, Michelle Sanger, Danielle Thompson.