Urban Renewal plans to be unveiled at meeting
Wareham residents will get a glimpse behind the curtain at the Wareham Village Urban Renewal Plan. The Wareham Redevelopment Authority, the group responsible for handling town urban renewal projects, will present the plan’s first draft at the Town Hall Auditorium on Thursday, Dec. 1 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The Authority will present alongside the consulting firm it hired to craft the plan and move it through the lengthy state and local approval process. Town officials say that the plan will not only attract new residents and businesses, but improve quality of life for those already here.
“This is a great opportunity for Wareham residents and Village property and business owners to see the ‘wet clay’ of the plan, make their thoughts and concerns heard and influence the final program,” said Director of Planning and Community Development Kenneth Buckland.
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. The Wareham Village Urban Renewal Plan has been in the works since November 2021.
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.
Wareham Redevelopment Authority Chairman Dan Butler said that the plan will “revitalize” Wareham Village.
“Citizen input to help shape the plan is essential,” he said. “We have a rich history, charm and tremendous assets like a beautiful waterfront, water activities and a burgeoning restaurant scene to protect and build upon.”
After the presentation, a panel of town officials will answer questions and hear comments from the public. The panel, which will include Wareham Planning Board Chairman Michael King and Member Sam Corbitt, is responsible for reviewing the plan and making sure it conforms with the town’s “Master Plan.”
Wareham Board of Selectmen Chair Judith Whiteside said that any plan for Wareham Village must encourage private investment and acknowledge the challenges of climate change.
Residents are encouraged to arrive early and discuss their ideas with panel members before the presentation.