CHICOPEE — Multiple departments and stakeholders within Chicopee haven been working on developing its first ever citywide comprehensive plan called Envision Our Chicopee: 2040.

The nearly 70-page document is a shared vision for Chicopee’s future and a roadmap that guides everyone into getting to where they want together. It includes what new development looks like and where it can happen, how the city can protect environmentally sensitive areas and historic sites, prioritize future investments in community services and better support local business development.

Mayor John Vieau discussed how it feels to have the plan complete after a long process.

He said, “This is something that’s been in the making for quite a long time. This started back in 2019. It included many responses from the public, they were involved in many of our public functions and asked where they want to see the city of Chicopee in 20 years.”

Over thousands of survey responses helped put together the eight chapters of the plan that focus on governing, traveling, safe streets, green infrastructure, economic development, creating staff positions, promoting health and wellness and more.

Vieau added, “There’s just so much in this plan. I highly recommend you all read it and certainly I’m a very strong proponent for the endorsement of it by the City Council because once that happens we can implement it.”

Envision Our Chicopee: 2040 includes an action plan and an implementation committee will be put together to help enhance the plan and put it into action.

Vieau said, “The best part of having that plan is it came with an implementation plan. That plan involves creating a committee and that committee is built up of stakeholders, I believe elected officials and representatives from the community who will come together to help implement this plan.”

The action plan breaks down priority tasks for each topic area into high, medium and low priorities to tackle over the next 20 years.

The plan was available to the public for comment for 30 days and the Planning Department tweaked the plan based on feedback.

The Planning Department recently adopted the plan in September 2023 and Planning Director Lee Pouliot talked more about it.

He said, “This is certainly a milestone for the city, this being a critical item that the city needs. To showcase our commitment to utilizing the plan as a tool moving forward, we thought it was appropriate and necessary to have the City Council review and endorse the plan.”

According to Pouliot, the state zoning law requires all cities in Massachusetts to have an adopted comprehensive plan. When Chicopee started working on this in 2019, they were one of only two cities that had not adopted a comprehensive plan.

The coronavirus pandemic stalled and slowed down the process of completing the plan for a little while, but Pouliot said they were able to adapt to the situation and interact with over 4,000 residents in various ways to receive feedback.

“We were very, very happy with the amount of participation we were able to receive during that portion of the process,” Pouliot added.

During the June 4 City Council meeting, the group voted to refer the plan back to Vieau so that he can set a special meeting for the public to view the plan.

City Council President Frank Laflamme said he would like to see Vieau set up a special meeting soon for the community to be able to get a better understanding of the plan.

Ward 9 City Councilor Mary Beth Pniak-Costello applauded the work of Pouliot and other members on the project.

She added, “This was a lot of work, and it certainly is appreciated because it takes us with vision over the next 20 years. I do agree with Councilor Laflamme though, in regard to having some sort of public hearing and have the public if they wish to hear what this plan is.”

The full plan can be found at envisionourchicopee2040.com or under the Planning Department tab on chicopeema.gov.