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Only half of presented warrant articles voted on at special meeting

By Courtney Llewellyn

Reminder Assistant Editor

EAST LONGMEADOW Only five of the 11 articles on the Special Town Meeting warrant for Sept. 8 were voted on by residents. The remaining six articles were moved to no action by various town officials.

Two of the articles moved to no action were items that have caused much debate in town over the past few months the selling of town property on Arch Street, Lindendale Avenue and Gaskell Street and the purchase of the 90-acre Goldstein Farm for open space purposes.

"This is the third time this has come up," resident Ron Cutler said of the proposed selling of land. "We now have to come back a fourth time to tell the town not to sell this open space."

"We're not interested in selling open space just to sell open space," Board of Selectmen Chair Jim Driscoll told those in attendance. He explained that the land in question has been town property since the 1930s.

As for the purchase of the farmland, Driscoll said, "Our hopes is that we would have approval for a large piece of open space property for the town. Negotiations are going well, but we didn't want you to vote without knowing the pros and cons of that purchase." He added that all that information will be available to the public before the next Special Town Meeting, scheduled for Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium.

The next scheduled town forum on the topic of these parcels of land will be taking place Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall Hearing Room.

Voters approved of the article that exchanged a parcel of land owned by the town with a parcel owned by Paul Racicot of 47 Colorado St. in Springfield. The exchanging of approximately 3,600 square feet allows for an access point to the 65-acre Heritage Park from the north, if needed, in the future.

"In order for the town to convey a piece of what is termed 'park land,' a request must be made to the General Court in Boston for legislation to approve of the transfer and swap of property," a release from the Board of Public Works stated. "A yes vote on this article would result in a request being sent to Boston for that legislation."

The Board of Public Works recommended the article because it has the potential of creating a secondary emergency access to Heritage Park.

"This is a really good opportunity for the town," Board of Public Works member John Maybury told voters. "It's a 'once in a lifetime.'"

The article was unanimously approved.

Also approved at the meeting were articles seeking to provide funding for human resources consulting services, to expand the hours of the Council on Aging's bookkeeper, to amend a bylaw so that the Town Accountant could become an ex-officio, non-voting member of the Appropriations Committee and to authorize the town to take in fee simple (meaning to own and care for) Windsor Lane.