In July of 1992 Mr. Michael D. Gerry, chairman of the Gardner Redevelopment Authority, contacted the Gardner Office of Planning and Community Development about the community's status regarding its eligibility for E.D.A. funding for a proposed industrial park. In follow-up discussion with the planning office and Mr. William Fitzhenry of the regional EDA Office, it was determined that while Gardner was within an approved area, it needed to prepare a current O.E.D.P., as the most recent one had been approved by the E.D.A. in April of 1975. In as much as the last report had been developed under the direction of the G.R.A., in correspondence from Mr. Allen Gross, chairman, the Gardner Planning Board requested that G.R.A. again take the lead role in preparing an O.E.D.P. In October, the Authority formally accepted this responsibility and contracted with Mr. John Mullin through the Center for Economic Development, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, to assist in its preparation. Concurrently, the GRA proceeded to solicit participation from community representatives within the labor market area.
In January of 1993 committee meetings, led by Mr. Lawrence B. Adams, Economic Development Coordinator for the GRA and the Greater Gardner Industrial Foundation, commenced and continued on a monthly basis through the summer. These meetings were convened at the conference room of the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce and were covered by reporters from The Gardner News. Early meetings reviewed the guidelines of the EDA and developed methodologies and timetables for various components. Intermediate meetings covered a presentation and analysis of regional data as presented very capably by graduate students from the University of Massachusetts Regional Planning Program, and discussions of the area's strengths and weaknesses. The latter meetings developed specific goals and objectives, in coordination with recently completed Community Action Statements, developed by all cities and towns in Massachusetts. The last committee meeting was held on August 26, 1993.
The final report reflects and supports a regional approach to economic development, with a recognition that some projects will have broad regional impact while others may have local, but still critical, impact. There was an overriding sense that economic development must proceed within a regional context. The committee requested that the GRA continue to play a lead role in the assessment of progress on OEDP goals and objectives and to reconvene the committee for the purpose of initiating yearly updates.
Section 6: Pages 1-109
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