Hebert to continue role with CMRPC
By Robert Fucci
Ten years ago, John Hebert first joined the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission.
He’s been such a key contributor that the Sutton Board of Selectmen felt he should continue in that role.
During the Aug. 15 Board meeting, Hebert was unanimously reappointed for an 11th year to the CMRPC.
“The first couple of years I just had to sit back and learn and listen,” Hebert said. “There are so many different walks of life with this meeting. There’s a lot that goes into the decisions, where the money goes for infrastructure.”
Founded by the Legislature in 1963, the CMRPC provides a variety of services to its constituencies and brings a regional perspective to planning and development. One of 13 regional planning agencies in Massachusetts, CMRPC serves Sutton and 39 surrounding communities in the southern two-thirds of Worcester County.
CMRPC’s programs include transportation, regional services, geographic information systems (GIS), and community development and planning.
“The Blackstone Valley is more than just a dot on the map,” Hebert said. “We’re that upper cut, and it shows with what’s been done in this area.”
Selectman Michael Kenney agreed.
“To build up the surrounding towns, Sutton only benefits from this,” he said.
The CMRPC’s mission is to address growth and development issues that extend beyond community boundaries, maintain the district’s certification for federal transportation improvement funds, provide technical knowledge and resources to assist local government in addressing specific land use, economic or environmental problems resulting from growth or decline, and build strong working relationships with member communities, state and federal officials, as well as the area’s legislative representatives.
Hebert said he represents 11 towns as a member of the commission.
“We really try to make a balance, but there’s only so much money,” he said. “We try to spread out to other towns. I’ll certainly keep Sutton in mind.”
Selectman David Hall said Sutton could only benefit from keeping Hebert on the commission.
“It may be one of those things that fly under the radar a little bit,” he said. “It is really a very important agency for this region to highlight and bring in development dollars to make this area grow. It is a regional effort that helps us all. This is a big position. John’s time and development is time well spent. To volunteer for this is a big deal. We benefit from his time there.”
Town Administrator Jim Smith the town’s alternate position for the CMRPC is now vacant. Smith said Bruce Davis cannot serve this year, and that the town will advertise to try to get an interested volunteer.
“I would like to thank Bruce Davis for his service to the town,” Smith said. “He did a great job representing the town and the Valley.”