GROVELAND — Interim Financial Director Kevin Paicos and the Groveland Board of Selectmen are pleased to announce that the Town of Groveland has established an Economic Development, Planning and Conservation Department, and named Rebecca Oldham as its director.
The Board of Selectmen established the department on Jan. 19, which will provide support services, general administration and oversight of the development and redevelopment of land within the Town of Groveland, including but not limited to planning, zoning, and conservation. The department will provide general interpretation and administration of Zoning, the Planning Board rules and regulations, Section 8-19 Wetlands Protection of the General Bylaw, and any other relevant local ordinance as well as all relevant state and federal statutes relating to said local bylaws.
Rebecca Oldham, who has served as Groveland’s Town Planner since September 2018, was also appointed by the Board of Selectmen as the Director of the Economic Development, Planning and Conservation Department on Feb. 1.
“I am really excited about this new role,” Director Oldham said. “My mission is to provide a coordinated and comprehensive approach to the town’s land use management, economic development, and future objectives. The Department will provide technical planning guidance and assistance and enhance public outreach and engagement. Groveland has many assets and my goal is to promote these strengths and provide opportunity.”
In her new role, Oldham will direct long-range planning and the updating of the Town’s Master Plan. She will establish planning goals and priorities and develop, recommend and implement policies and procedures in conjunction with the Planning Board. As Director of the Economic Development, Planning and Conservation Department she will additionally solicit grants to support planning-related activities, develop the department’s operating and capital budget, employ and supervise full or part-time staff as needed and assess the performance of such personnel, and participate in regional and statewide planning efforts through work with the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission and other agencies.
The department work directly with the Planning Board, Zoning Board, Conservation Commission, Community Preservation Committee, Elm Square Committee and Open Space and Trail Committee. As Director of Economic Development, Planning and Conservation, Oldham will work to increase efficiency, enhance communication, and streamline efforts of the above groups.
Oldham will report to the Board of Selectmen, and will be responsible for various duties including reviewing development proposals for the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals and Conservation Commission as well as performing planning studies related to zoning issues and meeting with developers and citizens regarding development issues.
She will also provide support services and direction to the Conservation Commission for the management of Veasey Memorial Park, and will oversee all personnel of Veasey Memorial Park.
“Rebecca is a tremendous asset to the Town of Groveland, and has been the driving force behind several significant initiatives over the past two years,” Financial Director Paicos said. “She has secured multiple grant awards to allow the town to better plan for its future and implement needed improvements. We’re confident she will thrive in this new role and that this marks the beginning of a great chapter for the community and planning for the future of the town.”
Over the past two years, Oldham has helped the Town of Groveland receive several grant awards, most recently a $29,590 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) to fund efforts to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety near the Bagnall Elementary School. Oldham was also a driving force behind the town’s Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Community Designation for its efforts to prepare for climate change and extreme weather events. She wrote the grant application for which the town was awarded $25,000 by the state to conduct a resiliency report and community resiliency building workshop to support efforts to obtain the MVP designation.
She also spearheaded the town’s applications for Massachusetts Downtown Initiative Technical Assistance Program awards. As a result of her efforts the town was awarded $15,000 in 2020 and $15,000 in 2019 to support efforts to study and revitalize the Elm Square area.
Oldham also helped the town obtain a $10,000 Municipal Americans with Disabilities Act Grant from the Massachusetts Office of Disabilities in March 2020 to improve access for persons with disabilities in all town-owned facilities.
Prior to joining the Town of Groveland as its first Town Planner, Oldham previously served as the senior planner for Methuen, where she was involved with the construction of the city’s rail trail, obtaining a Green Communities Designation and the development of a Complete Streets policy. She also previously served as the community development program coordinator for Methuen and staff planner for North Andover.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public administration, state and local government. Both degrees are from Suffolk University.