As the city of Springfield drafts a comprehensive, $500,000 redevelopment plan for neighborhoods damaged by the June 1st tornadoes, officials in Monson, Massachusetts are also urging residents to give input on their rebuilding plans, and to take advantage of social services.
The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission will hold a so-called "visioning workshop" at Monson High School later this month to gather public input. Monson Town Administrator Gretchen Neggers says rebuilding efforts are proceeding at a faster pace than she expected, but there are still plans to be made for trails, sidewalks, public buildings and trees and utility infrastructure.
"We are rebuilding fairly quickly and in the residential neighborhoods even where the rebuilding hasn't occurred or isn't happening, you see a lot of activity. Lots are being cleaned up, debris has been removed."
Downtown Monson was hit particularly hard by the tornado, WHICH pulled the roof from the town office building, closing it indefinitely. In the same style as the Rebuild Springfield meetings, the Monson visioning workshop will involve small, focus-group discussions rather than a town-hall style hearing.
Neggers says Monson continues to address the other problems residents face after the tornado – their finances, emotions and even tree damage. On Saturday a town-wide tree planting will take place, along with a financial recovery workshop.
"People are very busy. But I also think that people who suffer the greatest loss have the greatest need for information still and we're trying to continue to provide that."
The Monson Longterm Recovery Group, made up of trained volunteer case workers, is also still available to talk with residents about any problems associated with emotional and financial impacts of the tornado.