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Rapid Recovery Consultants

The Rapid Recovery Plan Program was started by the Commonwealth as part of the Baker-Polito Recovery Plan to revitalize downtowns, respond to the effects of COVID-19 on local businesses, and prioritize actions and strategies.

Table of Contents

Overview

The goals of the Rapid Recovery Plan Program include:

  1. Providing communities with a set of actionable, well developed projects that reflect COVID-19 recovery needs, community priorities, available resources and incentives, and the capacity to implement plans at a local level.
  2. Providing communities with primary data that can be used by municipal officials to measure COVID-19 impacts on the local business community.
  3. Providing communities the opportunity to collaborate and network with other participants.

At the state level, our objectives include:

  1. Ensuring communities have data-driven plans to aid in COVID-19 recovery efforts.
  2. Providing the state with standardized data to demonstrate COVID-19 impacts at the State-level.
  3. Identifying and understanding on-going needs to inform efforts to allocate public and private resources in support of COVID-19 recovery.

As part of this program, communities will be matched with pre-qualified Plan Facilitators who will lead the creation of Rapid Recovery Plans that focus on actionable Project Recommendations to help communities address the impacts of COVID-19 on their local economy and on businesses within each community.

Throughout the planning process, communities will also have access to Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who will help seed ideas through Webinar presentations and Project Description Sheets within their area of expertise. SME’s will also be available for consultations on a targeted basis to help communities refine Project Recommendation sheets that are developed during the planning process.

Rapid Recovery Planning Timeline

The Rapid Recovery Planning process will take place over three phases: Phase 1 – Diagnostic; Phase 2 – Project Recommendation; Phase 3 – Plan Documentation.

Phase I begins in late March 2021, and will focus on diagnosing conditions in each community, cataloging COVID-19 impacts, and conducting community outreach to build community consensus around community needs.

Phase II begins in mid-May 2021, and will consist of project identification and developing project details in consultation with the Plan Facilitator, the community, and stakeholders.

All findings identified in Phase I and Phase II will culminate in Phase III, with the development of Final Rapid Recovery Plans. These plans will contain data on the impact of COVID-19, as well as actionable recovery plans for defined Study Areas. Final Rapid Recovery Plans are due to the communities and to the commonwealth in late August 2021.

 

Phase I

Phase I will lay the foundation for subsequent phases of the program. In this phase, Plan Facilitators and communities will come together to kick off the planning process; develop a community agreement detailing key milestones, roles, and responsibilities; and work to refine their selected study area(s) as needed.

Using a diagnostic approach adapted from the Commercial District Diagnostic, authored by Larisa Ortiz and published by the Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC), as a guide, Plan Facilitators and communities will go through a self-assessment, gathering baseline data collection and working to understand and evaluate their specific needs. Plan Facilitators are free to use their own methods and approaches to community outreach, data collection and analysis and are encouraged to refine the approach they take based on the budget allocated and the needs of each participating community.

Plan Facilitators should be prepared to evaluate four elements of each study area, as follows: 1) the physical environment, 2) business environment, 3) market conditions and 4) administrative capacity.

Plan Facilitators will be asked to provide the Commonwealth with baseline data in an agreed upon format as follows:

  • Physical Environment
    Map of Study Area (GIS file), Average Annual Daily Vehicular Traffic, Average Annual Daily Pedestrian Traffic, Total No. of Parking Spaces (On-Street and Off-street), Total Open/Public Space Area (SF), Overall Condition of Streets and Sidewalks, Total No. of Storefronts, Overall Condition of Storefronts, Total Commercial SF (Retail, Office and Manufacturing)

     
  • Market Conditions
    Basic Demographics, Total Workforce/Employees, Total Secondary/Post-Secondary Student Population, Total Annual Visitors
     
  • Business Environment
    Total Number of Businesses, Total Number of Business Closures since March 2020, Total Number of Businesses, Total Number of Vacant Storefronts

After completing the Diagnostic,  Plan Facilitators will provide communities with a summary of on-the-ground conditions within the Study Area(s) to guide the development of potential projects to help address areas of concern.

At this stage of the program, the Commonwealth will distribute a series of Project Description Sheets developed by participating Subject Matter Experts to help inform and inspire potential projects.

 

Phase II

In Phase II, Plan Facilitators and communities will begin to synthesize the findings from the diagnostic phase and translate them into actionable project plans. Utilizing the Project Rubric, Plan Facilitators and communities will work together to identify projects, timeframes for addressing projects, and the investment required to advance the projects.

Utilizing the Project Rubric, Plan Facilitators and communities will develop each project with key details, including Project Title, Project Category, Project Site, Origin, Key Project Actions, Implementation Steps, COVID Recovery, Budget. Using this rubric, Plan Facilitators and communities will also be able to estimate time frames for projects, partners and resources, key performance indicators, risk, and similar projects.

Plan Facilitators and Communities will have access to SMEs in specific subject areas via webinars and consultations to address project elements requiring specific areas of expertise. SMEs will offer insights to help refine and seed project ideas related to the key project areas of Public Realm, Private Realm, Revenue & Sales, Administrative Capacity, Tenant Mix, and Cultural/Arts.

 

Phase III

At the conclusion of Phase II, Plan Facilitators will prepare a Final Plan summarizing the Phase I diagnostic findings and Phase II Project Recommendations.

These final plans will detail Project Recommendations utilizing the Project Rubric and will be classified into the following categories:

  • Strategies to improve the Public Realm, including, but not limited to:
    • Transportation or Infrastructure Planning strategies that may include streetscape improvements, wayfinding, mobility enhancements/complete streets, broadband accessibility, Wi-Fi networks, parking management, etc.
    • Placemaking, Landscape Architecture, and Architecture and Design strategies targeted to the public realm, including placemaking investments to public spaces
       
  • Strategies to improve the Private Realm, including, but not limited to:
    • Redevelopment and Private Investment to privately owned properties (this may also include properties owned by nonprofit entities), including improvements to private storefronts (vacant or occupied), facades improvements, redevelopment of built assets, support for assemblages, etc.
    •  
  • Strategies to help drive Revenues and Sales for local businesses and/or nonprofit cultural institutions, including, but not limited to:
    • Marketing and Promotion strategies aimed at raising awareness of district offerings through events, campaigns, etc., to support growth in customer spending and visitors to both brick-and-mortar and online offerings of businesses within the study area.
       
  • Strategies to address underlying Administrative Capacity issues to support implementation efforts, including but not limited to:
    • Land Use, Zoning, Policy, and Regulations
    • Small Business Technical Assistance
       
  • Strategies to Improve Tenant Mix through retail retention and attraction
     
  • Strategies to address the needs of Cultural/Arts Organizations

 

Plan Facilitators are expected to work with the Communities to solicit feedback and buy-in from the represented communities as they draft the Final Plan and Project Recommendations.

After establishing consensus and finalizing projects, Plan Facilitators will finalize their Plans and submit to the commonwealth. Once submitted to the Commonwealth, communities and Plan Facilitators should be prepared to connect with potential funders to assist in the implementation of established projects.

Resources

RRP Program Schedule

Revenue & Sales Laws of Attraction - Marketing, Programming, and Interactive Strategies to Bring People (back) Downtown during COVID-19 (5/6/2021)

RRP SME Webinar 4 PDF: Revenue & Sales Laws of Attraction - Marketing, Programming, and Interactive Strategies to Bring People (back) Downtown during COVID-19 (5/6/2021)

RRP SME Webinar 2 Webinar Recording: Public Space Transformation II: COVID-19 Impacts on Parking, Biking, Sidewalks & Streets (4/14/2021)

RRP SME Webinar 2 PDF: Public Space Transformation II: COVID-19 Impacts on Parking, Biking, Sidewalks & Streets Slide Deck (4/14/2021)

RRP SME Webinar 3 PDF: Overcoming Zoning, Perming, and Licensing Hurdles to help Municipalities and Businesses Succeed in the Time of COVID-19 Slide Deck (4/15/2021)

SME Best Practice Sheet Tutorial - 4/20/2021

RRP SME Webinar 1 Webinar Recording: Public Space Transformation I: Finding Opportunity in Overlooked Places (4/8/2021)

RRP SME Orientation Webinar Recording (4/6/2021)

SME Orientation Slide Deck (4/6/2021)

SME Webinar 1: Public Space Transformation I: Finding Opportunity in Overlooked Places Slide Deck (4/8/2021)

Plan Facilitator Data Collection Guide Webinar (Youtube) 3/16/21

Plan Facilitator Data Collection Guide Webinar - Slide Deck 3/16/2021

Data Facilitator Data Collection Guide Webinar FAQ - RRP

Data Collection Webinar Slide Deck

Data Collection Spreadsheet

RRP Plan Facilitator Webinar Slide Deck 2/26/21

RRP Contract and Invoicing Presentation Slide Deck 3/10/2021

RRP Contract and Invoicing FAQ

RRP MDI Plan Facilitators Webinar 2/26/2021

3/16/2021 Plan Facilitator Data Collection Guide Webinar

Key Program Dates

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