Environmental Program Updates

May 19, 2020 - From Massachusetts Rivers Alliance

Today the Executive Office of Energy and Environment released its guidance for outdoor recreation and businesses for "Phase 1" of a gradual, three-phased re-opening plan for the Commonwealth.  You can see the document here.  Parks and beaches will reopen for all activities, fishing and hunting will continue, botanical gardens, zoos and nature centers will reopen with capacity limitations, and and yes, canoe and kayak rentals will be allowed. All activities will have guidance re safe distancing, masks, and in some cases, reduced capacity will be required.  Camping (other than RV camping with own bathrooms) will not be allowed in this phase, nor will youth sports.

Phase 1 seems to be a little gradual itself, with some activities restarting as early as yesterday, and others not starting until May 25.

The Marion Institute Southcoast Food Policy Council's COVID-19 Recovery Resources

May 8, 2020 - To help the Southcoast navigate the resources that are available to residents at this time, the Marion Institute has compiled a comprehensive shared document with information from a variety of local sources.

Formally known as the Southeastern MA Food Security Network, the Marion Institute Southcoast Food Policy Council’s mission is to connect, convene, and advocate for local food producers, consumers, and community leaders who seek policy and systems that strengthen our regional food system, improve community health, and eliminate food insecurity.

USDOT Announces $25 Billion in Funding to Help Nation’s Public Transportation Systems Respond to COVID-19

April 2, 2020 - The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced a total of $25 billion in federal funding allocations to help the nation’s public transportation systems respond to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Funding is provided through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

FTA is allocating $25 billion to recipients of urbanized area and rural area formula funds, with $22.7 billion allocated to large and small urban areas and $2.2 billion allocated to rural areas. Funding will be provided at a 100 percent federal share, with no local match required, and will be available to support operating, capital and other expenses generally eligible under those programs, and incurred beginning on January 20, 2020, to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19.

Further, operating expenses incurred for all rural and urban recipients, even those in large urban areas, are also eligible, including operating expenses to maintain transit services as well as paying for administrative leave for transit personnel due to reduced operations during an emergency. Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about this funding are available on FTA’s web site.

Other Links:

SRPEDD Stands Ready to Support Your Emergency Response Efforts

March 31, 2020 - Please reach out to us for any data that local decision-makers and public health and safety officials require for COVID-19 emergency response and planning.

In our role as the Regional Data Center, SRPEDD can gather, analyze, and describe data such as those featured below and at this link (to 2-page PDF version).  We can produce this analysis - or a customized report that you require - for any jurisdiction in our service area.  Please contact Kevin Ham or Sara Brown with any questions or data requests.

Part 1 of SRPEDD's Guide to Attending Virtual Meetings via "Zoom"

March 28, 2020 - SRPEDD's Assistant Director of Enviornmental Programs, Helen Zincavage, guides you through Zoom.  Stay tuned for more "how to" videos for online civic engagement during this moment of "social distancing."

KP Law's Resopnses to FAQs Concerning the Land Use Context During the COVID-19 Emergency

March 28, 2020 - The well known and well respected law firm's eUpdate from March 21, 2020 answers common questiosn for municipalities.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/11i8NbOKfFD_h1qJEUxZ3ud86s_3GGR6N/view

From the eUpdate - "Against this daily evolving landscape, we have provided the below information on frequently asked topics relative to land use permitting activities. As always, we will continue to update you with new developments. In addition, you should contact your Land Use attorney at KP Law to discuss any specific situations or concerns." 

MMA News and Resources for Cities and Towns

March 26, 2020 - Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA) Guidance for Cities and Towns

https://www.mma.org/resources/covid19/

Governments, agencies, and communities around the globe are responding to the coronavirus pandemic. MMA gathered the information here to help municipal leaders respond and continue their critical operations.

Commonwealth Resources and Guidance for Cities and Towns

March 24, 2020 - Please visit the Commonwealth's page for municipal officials; it provides cities and towns with municipal finance and governance guidance related to the current state of emergency.

https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-resources-and-guidance-for-municipal-officials

The Division of Local Services (DLS) will update the online list as new resources become available.

City and town officials may contact DLS for urgently needed guidance by using their special email account: COVID19DLS@dor.state.ma.us 

MA Disaster Declaration Approved

March 23, 2020 - U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) Now Available Statewide.

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USSBA/bulletins/2823dac

Please be advised that Massachusetts received approval for the disaster declaration statewide for small businesses and private non-profits to apply for the SBA EIDL loan program. 

Please visit the SBA's Disaster guidance web page: www.sba.gov/disaster    

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications to mail in forms at: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance.  

Individuals who need language assistance, may ask for an interpreter once you call in and reach a customer service specialist. 

Individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

Miscellaneous Economic Assistance in the SRPEDD Region

March 23, 2020 - Below you will find entities providing economic assitance, including providing federal EDA Revolving Loan Funds (RLFs), Small Business Administration (SBA), and other programs to assist businesses and communities.  Additionally, Chambers of Commerce and community banking institutions with special funding under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) may also provide information and assistance.

SRPEDD's Office Closed to the Public

March 20, 2020 - In response to the current State of Emergency in effect throughout the Commonwealth, the SRPEDD office at 88 Broadway is presently closed to the public.

SRPEDD's Response to the Ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic:

Along with each of you, the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District (SRPEDD) places the highest value on the safety and well-being of our communities. During this State of Emergency, the Agency has taken measures to ensure that our work can continue while abiding by the guidelines set forth by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Although the office is presently closed to the public, SRPEDD staff are actively working remotely and available to respond to member municipality questions and needs.  The best and easiest way to reach us is via email.  All meetings going forward, such as next week's 3/24 Southeastern MA Metropolitan Planning Organization (SMMPO) meeting, 3/25 SRPEDD Commission meeting, and others will all be held virtually.  Please contact us by email if you need assistance or require further information on how to participate in any upcoming meetings.

In the meanwhile, we urge that everyone do their part to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus through such practices as regular hand-washing and social distancing, and any other measures recommended by the Governor and health professionals across the state.

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