Blackstone Heritage Corridor seeking public input

Blackstone Heritage Corridor seeking public input

Blackstone Heritage Corridor Executive Director Devon Kurtz rides an old-fashioned, high-wheeled bicycle along the Blackstone River Bikeway. The organization has put out a survey to seek the public’s input on priorities over the next 10 years and beyond.

One of the Blackstone Valley’s most far-reaching organizations is seeking help from the public to guide its priorities over the next 10 years and beyond.

The Blackstone Heritage Corridor, officially based in Whitinsville, Mass., has put out a survey to gauge the public’s interest in various historical, cultural and environmental projects. The group is also seeking to build up its volunteer ranks and re-engage the public after a long year of virtual events.

For all its work behind the scenes, Devon Kurtz, BHC executive director, said many people are still unaware of the organization’s role. The group serves as the nonprofit partner to the National Park Service in overseeing the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor and works with local groups to preserve the valley’s history and environment. They advocate for the bike path, support water quality efforts, coordinate opportunities for residents, and compile an impressive list of resources and events throughout the Blackstone Valley on their website.

“For a long time, we were kind of in the background pushing things forward, and now we’re trying to be in the forefront and reminding people that we’re not just a sign on the highway,” Kurtz said.

Kurtz said the recent survey is part of an effort to reintroduce the organization to residents and find out what their neighbors want to see in the valley. It’s the first time in the organization’s 35-year history they put out a survey to gauge the public’s interest across all their focus areas.

“We’ve been doing so much work on the bikeway and on the river, trying out all sorts of new programs, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to go to all our neighbors in the valley and find out what they’re thinking,” he said.

The survey is available online at www.bit.ly/BHCSURVEY and open until June 30.