Energy & Sustainable Development Committee

The Partnership is pleased to have strong leadership from our Private Sector Co-Chair Beth Wierling, Planning & Construction Manager for The Kraft Group, and our Public Sector Co-Chair, Kristen Las, Assistant Town Manager/Economic Development Coordinator for the Town of Shrewsbury.  

If you are interested in receiving notices for the Partnership's Energy & Sustainable Development Committee, please contact Executive Director Jason Palitsch and write "ESD Committee" in the subject line.


June 25, 2019

 The Partnership was pleased to host Juan Vega, Secretary of Communities and Programs, from the MA Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development to discuss the application process for the 2019 MassWorks grant program. Michael Herbert, Town Administrator of Ashland, and Joseph Laydon, Town Planner of Grafton, presented on projects for which they received MassWorks grants. Executive Director Paul Matthews presented several resources from the Partnership-- The Strength in Numbers regional economic report, a regional commercial real estate report from CBRE, and municipal economic development profiles.


 September 25, 2018

As part of the Partnership's ongoing work with the Massachusetts Office of Business Development (MOBD), we hosted an information session for municipalities on the Economic Development Incentive Program (EDIP). The meeting served to:

  • Update municipalities on the new regulations for the EDIP 
  • Inform the audience of the type of projects MOBD is looking to incent as the program has become competitive and not an entitlement
  • Provide a forum for sharing of EDIP "best practices" and getting answers to any EDIP questions
  • Provide an opportunity for municipalities to meet their regional colleagues
  • Learn more about EDIP Credits, Tax Increment Financing, Special Tax Assessment, Economic Opportunity Areas, and the Abandoned Building Renovation Deduction. 

To learn more, see the presentation below. 


April 24, 2018

April's topics included New England Forestry Foundation's Build It With Wood Initiative with Nicole St. Clair Knobloch and a detailed presentation on the Baker/Polito Administration's Housing Choice Initiative by Chris Kluchman, FAICP.

Nicole is the project leader of the Build It With Wood Initiative and as such shared her insights on "mass timber," a class of engineered wood products that have the structural capacity to replace concrete and steel in taller buildings. According to New England Forestry Foundation, interest in using mass timber in buildings is growing in New England for its sustainability, durability, energy efficiency, faster construction times, and emergence as a new locally-sourced building material. Check out her presentation below.


A familiar face to the Partnership and the 495/MetroWest region, Chris Kluchman, FAICP, gave a presentation about the Baker/Polito Administration's Housing Choice Initiative.  Chris is the Housing Choice Program Director, overseeing a program that provides tools for communities to meet the goal of creating 135,000 new housing units statewide by 2025. The program rewards communities that are producing housing and encourages local governments to expand housing options through new legislation, coordinated grants and technical assistance. Communities that meet certain criteria related to producing housing over the last 5 years qualify for "designation" as Housing Choice Communities, similar to the Green Communities program.  Designation applications from local governments are due April 30, 2018.  For more information see the website at¿ and the presentation below.


December 7, 2017

The Committee's December meeting included two speakers from MassDevelopment on two topics. Claire O'Neil, VP Planning & Development, gave a presentation on their Real Estate Technical Assistance Services, for which the request for proposals is currently out and submissions are due on December 15th.  Following detailed Q&A on Real Estate, Wendy O'Malley, VP MassDevelopment and PACE Program Manager, discussed Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), a new financing mechanism created in the energy legislation signed by Govenor Baker in August 2016, and administered by MassDevelopment and the MA Department of Energy Resources.  Click on the images below for their full presentations.




October 20, 2015

Mill & Main in Maynard

Attendees were treated to an exciting presentation about the new ownership and vision for Mill & Main in Maynard by Jill Minkin, Vice President of Business Development, Programs & Partnerships, and Henry  St. Hilaire, Director of Development & Construction for Saracen Properties.  We also heard from Kevin Sweet, Maynard's Town Administrator,  on how the town worked with the new owners of the 1.1 million square feet complex formerly known as Clock Tower Place.  Check out the link below for a great video that brings the vision for Mill & Main to life! 

Mill & Main Video


August 26, 2015

MassWorks Infrastructure Grant Program

The Partnership greatly appreciates the timely presentation by Erica Kreuter, Director of the MassWorks Infrastructure Program for the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, about the current application process, which opened on June 8th.  Applications are due Friday, September 4th.  In addition to Erica's insights, we were also joined by Bill Sedewitz, P.E., Chief Engineer for the Town of Framingham.  Bill offered details on their successful MassWorks application and an update on the progress of their project.

Our region has a successful track record with MassWorks grants as noted in our MWDN guest column in January 2014.  In addition to the $9 million mentioned in the column, the region received an additional $6.5 million in MassWorks grants in 2014 (to Framingham and Hopkinton).  We hope to see this success rate continue and we are pleased to provide resources, such as this meeting, to help our communities which are considering applying. 


July 29, 2015 - coUrbanize Presentation

Helping developers, planners, and residents work together to build better cities and towns.

The Partnership's ESD Committee reconvened in July 2015 for an exciting presentation on a relatively new community development platform called coUrbanize. Residents use coUrbanize to learn about real estate and development projects in their communities. Project developers list projects on coUrbanize to share information and gather broader resident feedback to supplement the in-person meeting process.  In the Partnership's service area of 35 communities, coUrbanize has been used by the Town of Ashland and by MassDevelopment for Devens re-zoning efforts.  We heard from the Co-Founder and CEO of coUrbanize, Karin Brandt, as well as from Erikk Hokenson, Assistant Project Manager at MassDevelopment.  The Town of Ashland was well represented by Matthew Selby, Director of Community Development & Health, and Nat Strosberg, Town Planner, who spoke about their experience with coUrbanize.  For your convenience, we have provided links to their presentations below:

coUrbanize Presentation

MassDevelopment Presentation

Ashland Presentation

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