Feb 13, 2015

2 Massachusetts Communities to Receive EPA Technical Assistance

The communities will receive assistance through EPA's "Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities" program

U.S. EPA, building blocks for sustainable communities,

Newburyport and Scituate, Mass. are among 22 towns and cities nationwide chosen to receive technical assistance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The two Massachusetts communities will receive assistance in identifying approaches they can take to become more resilient to flooding. Also in New England, Damariscotta, Maine will receive help on identifying sustainable strategies for meeting housing needs for different ages and incomes.

The communities were chosen to receive the technical assistance through EPA’s “Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities” program, which provides assistance on specific tools to help towns and cities with local efforts such as bike share programs and flood resiliency planning. The winners were chosen from 121 communities that applied for assistance by submitting a letter of interest explaining how the technical assistance would help it meet its goals with a particular challenge.

The Building Blocks program uses a variety of tools that not only strengthen a community’s ability to put in place sustainable approaches, but also stimulate discussion about growth and resilience.

Each technical assistance project in a community will involve a team of EPA-led experts and will involve the public in one- to two-day workshops. Each project will also involve direct consultation with relevant decision-makers and will result in a memo outlining options the community can pursue to address ideas generated at the workshop. EPA will conduct these workshops in coordination with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Transportation through the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. Through the Partnership, EPA, HUD and DOT work together to coordinate investments in housing, transportation, and environmental protection to get better results for communities and use taxpayer money more efficiently.

EPA invited communities last fall to apply for technical assistance on one or more of the following topics: bikeshare planning; equitable development; infill development for distressed cities; sustainable strategies for small cities and rural areas and flood resilience.

Since 2011, the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program has provided assistance to 130 communities in 41 states. As a result of this assistance, community groups, local governments, and tribal governments across the nation have increased their capacity to successfully implement smart growth and sustainable approaches that protect the environment, improve public health, create jobs, expand economic opportunity, prepare for the effects of climate change, and improve overall quality of life.