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Great Barrington Launches Community Liaison Project
10:36AM / Thursday, April 11, 2024
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GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Great Barrington has formed a partnership with a local consultant team to launch Community Liaison services. 
Jovanina Pagano and Sylvana Proaño will work directly with community organizations and residents, particularly those community members who experience marginalization, to build meaningful, reciprocal relationships between residents and the town government.
"We are honored and excited to assist the town in its efforts to ethically serve the whole community, not just those who have historically had a place at the decision-making table," Team leader Jovanina Pagano said. "Our work will prioritize listening and learning, relationship-building, and empowering community members to actively participate in the decision-making processes that affect their lives."
The Community Liaison team will first focus on the Lake Mansfield Improvement Project to ensure that this public resource is free and welcoming to all. This may include, for example, ensuring that people know there is handicapped accessibility, and information in English and Spanish.
"The Lake Mansfield project is now taking shape after years of meetings and engagement," said Christopher Rembold, assistant town manager and director of planning and community development. "It's a model of a project being envisioned and implemented by the community working together. The Community Liaison services will help us continue this type of engagement at Lake Mansfield, and in all aspects of the Town's work."  
This initiative is funded with a portion of the state grants the Town has received for the Lake Mansfield Recreation Area improvements, already underway. The Lake Mansfield grants, which total nearly $1.7 million, from the Commonwealth's Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), are funding the parking lot, recreation path, and stormwater mitigation construction that is underway at the Lake. The MVP program helps municipalities plan and implement priority actions to adapt to climate change and build climate resilience.
"We're excited to have a team that has strong relationships with and is dedicated to the wellbeing of our community," Town Manager Mark Pruhenski said. "We're looking forward to developing this initiative."
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