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Open Space and Recreation Plan Update
The Town of Needham is undertaking the process of updating its Open Space and Recreation Plan (OSRP). The OSRP is a community-planning document that defines the Town's goals for reasonably preserving its natural resources and for maintaining adequate outdoor recreation opportunities. The Plan lays out a strategic framework for implementation consistent with community needs and desires by:
            - Documenting the community's natural, recreational, and historical resources base;
            - Identifying development trends that are likely to impact that resource base;
            - Developing strategies to reasonably preserve and expand open space, natural, and recreational resources and opportunities;
            - Prioritizing conservation and recreation needs
            - Providing recommendations for reaching short and long term open space and recreation goals.

The first step in the process to update the Town's existing plan was the formation of an Advisory Group (AG) to guide the process. The AG, consisting of approximately forty (40) members, was formed in late August. In cooperation with the Town's consultant, the OSRP-AG will coordinate public information sessions, review existing materials, and collect and analyze data on residents' views on open space and recreation topics. The AG consists of representatives from multiple committees and also includes other stakeholders and interested parties. 

The OSRP Update will be following the "Open Space and Recreation Planner's Workbook", published by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Workbook summarizes the need for an up-to date Open Space and Recreation Plan, stating: Open Space and Recreation Plans allow a municipality to maintain and enhance all the benefits of open space that together make up much of the character of the community and protect the "green infrastructure" of the community. Planning this "green infrastructure" of water supply, land, working farms and forests, viable wildlife habitats, parks, recreation areas, trails, and greenways is as important to the economic future of a community as planning for schools, roads, water, and wastewater infrastructure.
The complete Workbook can be accessed at:

If you would like more information, please contact Matthew Varrell (Needham Director of Conservation) at: or Patricia Carey (Director of Park and Recreation) at: . Alternately, you may contact Elisa Litchman in the Needham Office of Planning and Community Development at (781)-455-7550 x222.