In 2007-2009, the South Hadley master-planning process identified five core initiatives during its robust public engagement process. The number one core initiative was the revitalization of South Hadley Falls. Town Meeting Members subsequently adopted and endorsed the Master Plan in 2010, including the commitment to revitalize South Hadley Falls. In 2012, at the Town’s request, the American Institute of Architect’s Sustainable Design Assistance Team (SDAT) visited South Hadley Falls and met with South Hadley residents. The SDAT then provided a compelling vision for the area.
While there are other parts of town in need redevelopment, only the South Hadley Falls area meets the Commonwealth’s narrow criteria for the establishment of a targeted redevelopment area under the direction of a redevelopment authority. Those criteria include the proportion of vacant lots, empty stores, and properties with deferred maintenance issues. But that does not mean that Town officials are uninterested in redevelopment in other parts of the community. The Selectboard, Town Administrator, Planning Director and Planning Board, as well as the Redevelopment Authority Chair, are all actively engaged in redeveloping other parts of South Hadley.