– By Helen Nickole

Today I’m posting part two of my interview with Catherine (Kate) Jurzyk. Kate is a member of the Ashland Planning Board and she is also a member of the Ashland Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee.

I plan to have two interviews with members of the Planning Board and Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee. This will be a four part series starting with Kate Jurzyk’s interview done in two parts and then another two part interview With Anna Tesminsky. That makes this part two of a four part series. If you missed part one it should still be in the group feed just go back eight days. I’m posting these on Thursday’s. If you cannot find it pm me and I’ll send it to you.

8. Helen: How will the comprehensive plan address the complex goals of the community residents and business owners regarding land use, growth and sustainability issues going into the future?

Kate: I think these are key issues where we may need the expertise of the consultant to guide the community if there are divergent views. Ultimately, there needs to be a process where everyone can feel heard, and there is transparent feedback on decisions made to create a viable plan for the future. What I think stakeholders and residents can recognize is that the world and our community aren’t stagnant, ‘change happens’ so through participation we can collectively plan for and shape the change. That is what this planning process is about, acknowledging that nothing is static, and working to shape the future of Ashland.

9. Helen: How will the comprehensive plan strategize for the future of Ashland including business and economic development, growth, housing development, educational and cultural opportunities and investment opportunities?

Kate: These are the very elements of the plan that need to be addressed and thoughtful, caring residents, along with a top-notch consultant can guide us to potential solutions. Most of our solutions will take time to implement but with a well-crafted plan that the public created, the community can continue to participate in implementing solutions.

10. Helen: What strategies for the future would you like to see included in the comprehensive plan?

Kate: Strong public participation continuing. A solid Implementation Plan for the Comprehensive Plan including on-going updates with regular public feedback. Maintain and keep public facilities current. Evaluate transportation holistically, not from a ‘car centric’ perspective.

11. Helen : How do you see historic preservation showing up in the comprehensive plan?

Kate: Historic preservation crosses almost all the plan elements so depending on community input and values, historic preservation can be addressed throughout the plan.

12. Helen: What strategies would you like to see added to the comprehensive plan for historic preservation?

Kate: Through the planning process and with community engagement, we will have to learn and document if historic preservation is important to our community. If that value is discovered, we should be able to get expert input from our consultant for the most effective strategies.

13. Helen: Do you think that there is an opportunity to strategize businesses opportunities and historical preservation together in the community and in the comprehensive plan?

Kate: Absolutely! Many towns across America have followed a model of small scale re-development by targeting rehabilitation of their historic downtowns.

14. Helen: What is your personal vision for the future of Ashland?

Kate: A wish list dream would be that Ashland becomes a town that is widely recognized for a superior level of public engagement and models growth and change with a plan that meets the needs of our community that was evaluated through the lens of addressing greater regional and global concerns. And hopefully our plans include taking care of the deferred maintenance of our infrastructure.

I again want to Thank Kate Jurczyk for participating in this informative interview and I hope you all found out something about the comprehensive plan that you would want to know. Don’t forget the comprehensive plan and the committee working together on this important project need our input. They need community support and participation. I posted in another post from Kate that there will be a meeting on September 21st, 2023 that will be a great way for the public to interact with the committee and I’m hoping you’ll plan to go. I copied this part of that post so you can jot down the information:

“Ashland “Save the Date”, Sept. 21st 7PM for the first meeting with our Comprehensive Plan consultant Jen Goldson from JM Goldson.

This WGBH interview with Boston’s urban design chief has some interesting points when considering Ashland’s Comprehensive Plan.
As Diana Fernandez states about design, its”… how we create life in the city and create a sense of community”.

With public participation in planning, we can have a plan that is community focused.”

Information about Steering Committee members is on the town website (https://ashlandmass.com/1069/Comprehensive-Plan-Project-Management-Gr

People can check the Town website for meeting agendas, location and Zoom information, agendas are listed under Comprehensive Plan Project Management Group https://www.ashlandmass.com/AgendaCenter

Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee newsletter sign up: https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/su/TemcAnX/compplan