UMass renews cooperation agreement with Hadley

By Shelby Ashline

Clouds race over protected farm land in Hadley.  Andy Castillo/Daily Collegian
Clouds race over protected farm land in Hadley.
(Andy Castillo/Daily Collegian)

On May 1, the University of Massachusetts and the town of Hadley signed a three-year cooperation agreement with hopes to continue to build on the partnership between the two sides.

The current agreement is valid until Dec. 31, 2017, and implements a few new changes, according to UMass Director of Community Relations Tony Maroulis.

The University has agreed to provide the town of Hadley with $55,000 annually, an increase from the $50,000 that was stipulated in the previous agreement between both parties, Maroulis said. An additional $14,000 will be allocated this year for the one-time purchase of an electronic sign that Hadley will use to post radar alerts and community messages.

Hadley Town Administrator David Nixon hopes to use the sign primarily to improve public and traffic safety during large university events. A portion of the University’s annual payment will be used to fund additional public safety projects.

The agreement also outlines a strict meeting schedule. According to a news release, Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy will be expected to meet annually with Hadley town officials, and Maroulis is expected to meet quarterly with Hadley selectmen to “share information of mutual concern.”

“We were more explicit in calling out the number of meetings we would have with Hadley officials every year,” Maroulis said. He explained that having an agreement in writing is necessary to keep the relationship structured and formal in case any of the involved parties move on or change positions.

Through the agreement, Hadley will also work with UMass to provide more internship opportunities and potential thesis projects for students, according to Nixon.

“I will be reaching out to the University for student help on various projects that will affect the town of Hadley,” Nixon said.

Nixon already has a couple of projects in mind. Specifically, he intends to reach out to the Isenberg School of Management for help creating a compensation classification plan, which he explained would review every job position in Hadley and analyze local pay scales. The town is also in the process of planning student projects that would preserve natural resources.

“The town of Hadley is interested in an active partnership with the University and we hope to use University resources more actively than in the past,” Nixon added.

The agreement stipulates several other collaborations. Hadley will assist in meeting the University’s water needs, the two parties will explore and combat issues of available and affordable housing for all, and they will “work together to mitigate the effects of Route 9 traffic,” the release states.

The University and Hadley also intend to continue their efforts to combat underage drinking. According to the release, the University intends to hold forums with the help of Hadley police and fire departments, thus fostering discussions about underage drinking and its community impact. Hadley will also designate a University liaison from both the police and fire departments.

According to Nixon, the various stipulations of the current agreement were decided upon during major conversations that began in November and had mostly concluded by February. Maroulis explained that he, Nixon, UMass’ Executive Director of External Relations and University Events Nancy Buffone and the members of the Hadley select board were all key players during the conversations.

Maroulis and Nixon agreed on the importance of the collaboration agreement for the benefit of students, faculty, residents, visitors and businesses. Students benefit from the amenities that Hadley has to offer. In return, UMass has helped the Hadley economy and has addressed energy and public safety issues.

“The University is committed to assisting the local community and helping to make them strong,” Maroulis said. “We want to see Hadley be strong and prosper. It’s important for our faculty and staff and for our students.”

Shelby Ashline can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @shelby_ashline.