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Public hearing on space study set for Aug. 13

Date: 8/8/2013

By Chris Maza

EAST LONGMEADOW – In its efforts to resolve space and accessibility issues in municipal buildings, the town will host a second public hearing regarding the municipal space study conducted by Reinhardt Associates on Aug. 13.

The forum will take place at 6 p.m. in the Media Room at the Council on Aging.

The study was completed on April 15 at a cost of $29,400 after residents voted to approve the appropriation of $30,000 at the 2012 Special Town Meeting in October.

Board of Selectmen Chair Paul Federici explained that the first meeting, which took place on June 27, was designed to roll out Reinhardt Associates’ findings and recommendations. Reinhardt Associates did not have a representative at that meeting.

The second meeting will allow residents to ask more questions and voice concerns to the board as well as Reinhard Associates. Federici said the forum will also allow the board to gather information prior to making a determination on what direction the town will take to address its space issues.

“There are obviously townspeople who have concerns about the project and we, along with Reinhardt Associates, are going to try to alleviate those,” he said.

Federici said the board has reviewed the report from Reinhardt Associates, which included several options, including an expansion of the current Town Hall building and the relocation of departments, including Information Technology, but has not come to any conclusions.

He said input from residents, as well as department heads and town committee members, was essential in moving forward with any plan. In addition, making sure residents were properly educated on what would be involved with the project was key.”

“We don’t want to force anything on the town that the town doesn’t want,” he said. “Without proper information, a lot of ideas that have merit don’t work out because people aren’t educated on what’s going on.”

Regardless of what the outcome is, Federici said he hopes to see progress on the matter, which has been talked about for years with little action.

“It seems we’ve been doing this long before I was on the board,” he said. “It’s a shame that we have had all of the starts and stops we have over the years because the town has been good enough to approve the money for these studies. My personal goal is to keep that from happening again and get something done.”

A copy of the study can be found on the town website,