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Voters to decide on funding for more design work of town facilities

Date: 10/22/2015

LONGMEADOW – Two articles on the Nov. 3 Special Town Meeting warrant call for additional funding for continued design work for the construction or renovation of town facilities.

Article 10 calls for an appropriation of $438,300 for continued architectural and engineering design work for a new Department of Public Works (DPW) complex.

Residents previously voted to fund the project’s feasibility study for $250,000 during the 2014 Special Town Meeting  

According to the draft warrant, the cost of the feasibility study was $35,000, predesign services come in at $183,500, schematic services are $269,800, and the cost of hiring an Owner’s Project Manager (OPM) is $200,000. Thus far, the total comes in at $688,300.

Town Manager Stephen Crane told Reminder Publications two sites have been identified by the DPW Facility Task Force to serve as the home for a DPW complex – a section of Wolf Swamp Field currently used for parking and the Grande Meadows Athletic Club, which is privately owned.

“The thing I’ll say about Wolf Swamp Field is that is the preferred site of the task force,” he added. “There’s a variety of reasons why it works, including that it’s town owned land.”

Crane said the additional appropriation for the research phase of the project would help address permitting issues associated with either site.

“It’ll help us do some analysis on ways to improve the parking and traffic at Wolf Swamp Fields as well as potentially adding additional field space as a part of the project,” he noted.

The goal is for the task force to select a site and have an accurate cost estimate for the construction phase of the project in advance of the 2016 Annual Town Meeting, Crane said.

“The progress we’ve made on the project so far has been very encouraging and I think that the townspeople will hopefully see that progress during our discussion on Article 10 and continue to support this really much needed and long overdue project,” he added.

The existing DPW facility at 31 Pondside Road was constructed in the 1930s and is located on a 100-year flood plain.

Article 13 calls for appropriating $50,000 in free cash funds in order for the town to complete additional site analysis, conceptual site plans, and conceptual building renderings for a proposed new or renovated Adult Center.

Residents approved the first phase of the study through a citizen’s petition article on the 2014 Annual Town Meeting warrant for a total of $35,000.

Crane said a renovated or new Adult Center could cost between $6 to $9 million, however those are “back of the envelope preliminary numbers.”

He added two sites are being examined for the project, which includes renovating the existing location at 231 Maple Road and three different areas at Turner Park.

Council on Aging Director Amy Saada previously listed four locations for a proposed new Adult Center, which included Bliss Park, Turner Park, behind the Storrs Library, and the existing Adult Center.

Crane said a report from the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission ranked Bliss Park and the area behind Storrs Library the lowest.