Group makes pitch to create urban renewal plan for Wareham Village

Dec 16, 2021

Jef Fasser and Heather Gould of BSC Group attended the Redevelopment Authority’s Dec. 16 meeting to pitch themselves as the town’s best choice for creating an urban renewal plan. 

An urban renewal plan is “a strategy for redeveloping and revitalizing substandard, decadent and blighted open areas for residential, commercial, industrial, business, governmental, recreational, educational, hospital or other uses,” according to the state.

Towns with an approved urban renewal plan are able to acquire real estate, including through eminent domain; demolish or rehabilitate structures; and receive grants and loans, among other powers.

Fasser opened the firm’s presentation by emphasizing that BSC Group, which has worked on a number of town’s urban renewal plans, approaches the work “with an eye toward implementation.” 

“We don’t like plans to sit on the shelves,” he said. “We have a lot of experience writing plans that have been implemented and we’ve worked with Redevelopment Authorities during implementation.” 

Gould, who would be the town’s “point person” if the firm was selected, said one of her priorities when creating urban renewal plans is “meaningful citizen participation.”

“The most recent citizen advisory groups we’ve worked on have been very representative of the community,” she said, citing their work in Fitchburg and Stoughton as a recent example.

In addition, Gould said that creating “easy-to-understand graphics” was another important aspect of BSC Group’s approach to urban renewal plan development.

“We try to make it as visually as possible to help people really see what can happen in certain places, and that I think helps to give better feedback moving forward with the plan,” she said. 

To round out the presentation, Fasser circled back to one key aspect of any urban renewal plan: the money.

“Urban renewal plans require a financial plan,” he said. 

He noted that the state has particular expectations, meaning plans must do things like indicate how much money will be budgeted for the demolition of a building or how much profit could be made from selling a property. Fasser said BSG Group is “very comfortable” with meeting those requirements — and with finding potential funding sources such as grants.  

Members of the Redevelopment Authority thanked Fasser and Gould for their presentation and praised their experience. 

The board will hear a presentation from at least one more firm before making a final decision about which company will work with the town to create the urban renewal plan for Wareham Village.