Your charge is twofold: First, you are to develop alternative achievable scenarios for the Visitor Information Center. Second, you are to develop alternative achievable scenarios for improving the economic viability of the Town of Charlemont. The two charges may be somewhat interrelated, but you are to begin with the first short term charge and at least develop a roadmap for achieving the second charge over the long term.
It is important to the selectmen and we think it will be important to the voters that you not "put the cart before the horse," that you not consider site before considering the function and viability of the program. Therefore we suggest a three step process with two informal drafts of a sort of "progress report"
Step I. Cost/Benefit Analysis: Make a realistic assessment of the long term costs and the long term benefits to the Town of Charlemont of a Visitors Information Center. The Cost/ Benefit analysis should be expressed in dollar amounts and you may certainly assign dollar estimates to intangible such as "Good Will," "Prestige" and "Town morale". Refine this to a bulleted outline of a half page. Make public a copy of your first draft (to the selectmen) before going to step 2.
Step 2. Scenarios for Success. Develop between two and three assumed scenarios for success based upon your assumptions for overall viability for this project. For example, you could assume that a wealthy benefactor would provide X dollars for operational costs each year, or you could assume the town would vote X dollars each year, or you could assume there would be an income stream from a rental situation, or some combination of the above. Whenever possible, explain what you think the chances are for achieving each scenario, and what your evidence is for so thinking. (You do not need to assess the implied scenario of not accepting the grant money, but you should not assume that this scenario is 'off the table".) Refine this to a bulleted outline of one to two pages. Make public a copy of your draft before going to step 3.
Step 3. Assess all sites you can think of that would be viable sites for this program. List all sites you consider. Provide an analysis for each of the best 2-4 sites on consider. List the pros and cons of each site in your one page analysis. Obviously, how well the site fulfills any or all of your "Scenarios for Success" will be a significant pro or con. Attempt to be objective here; don't "stack the deck" in favor or what might be your favorite site. Let the pros and cons speak for themselves. Know that although you do not actually make the site decision, the quality of your analysis will significantly influence the site decision.
CDC Press Release of November 14.