In the fall of 1992, the Boards of Selectmen of each of the five towns which comprise the Milford Labor Market Area designated economic development representatives to serve as a regional Overall Economic Development Program Committee. This action was the result of an initiative by Massachusetts State Representative Richard T. Moore of Uxbridge, who suggested a renewal of a working relationship between the towns and the Economic Development Administration(EDA), as EDA is viewed as an agency that might complement an array of economic development efforts throughout the state.
Following a preliminary planning meeting in Uxbridge on December 2, 1992, this group sought the advice of William Fitzhenry, Economic Development Representative, during January. Based on his advice this informal group sought out technical assistance from the Center for Economic Development, an EDA sponsored university center, located within the Regional Planning Department at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Acting on the advice of Mr. Fitzhenry and CED, a decision was reached to implement an Overall Economic Development Program (OEDP) planning effort with expectations that the final document would be submitted to EDA September of 1993.
In an attempt to recognize the perceptio that comprehensive economic planning was a critical need within the Milford LMA, agreement was reached that OEDP committees would be formed in each community. Representatives from each of these organizations became the coordinating group for the entire OEDP and held their first formal meeting in Milford on February 3,1993. Committee meetings were held throughout the spring(March 17 in Hopedale, April 27 in Uxbridge, June 2 in Hopedale, June 30 in Mendon, and August 4 in Hopedale) with ongoing assistance from CED. EDA policies and guidelines were carefully observed throughout the process. Each OEDP committee held a series of brainstorming discussions. Drafts of OEDP documents were repeatedly circulated by mail and fax for Committee review. In addition, the Committee made a concerted effort to seek elected official and public input. All meetings were announced in local media and were open to the public, several news articles appeared in the Milford Daily News and Woonsocket Call, and priorities were reviewed and approved at public Selectmen's meetings held in each community prior to final adoption of the OEDP.
Final drafts were carefully reviewed by the coordinating group to resolve any outstanding concerns. CED facilitated in these discussions. The final version was provided to OEDP committees for review.
The final OEDP submission represents the negotiation and prioritization of goals and objectives in order to fairly represent the unique qualities of each area. The success of this effort can be attributed to the willingness of the coordinating group from each to establish a common agenda without the burden of creating a new administration and bureaucracy. It is the full expectation of the coordinating group that after completion of the OEDP they will remain a working group in order to initiate and guide various implementation efforts.
Section 1: Pages 1-37
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