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Phase II of DPW design work could appear on Special Town Meeting warrant

Date: 7/30/2015

LONGMEADOW – The Nov. 3 Special Town Meeting could see an article on its warrant for additional funding for a second phase of design work for a proposed new Department of Public Works (DPW) facility.

Town Manager Stephen Crane told Reminder Publications “it’s too soon to tell” how much the additional design work would cost.

Residents previously approved $250,000 for a site evaluation and analysis, programming study, and schematic designs for two potential sites for a new DPW building during the Nov. 18, 2014 Special Town Meeting.

Crane said Phase I is a preliminary design that comprises up to 25 percent of the layout plans and includes site selection as well, while the second phase would see the remaining 75 percent of designs completed.

The town hired Weston & Sampson, an engineering firm based out of Rocky Hill, CT, for the project’s first phase, which would continue its work if residents vote in favor of additional funding, Crane said.

“They are the number one designers of DPW facilities certainly in this region,” he noted. “They do a lot of these – so we have a very experienced, highly efficient design team.”

Discussions regarding the future location of the proposed DPW complex have begun, Crane said.

“Weston & Sampson has developed a methodology for site selection and we are currently reviewing that,” he added. “The site selection process and the revised programming sheets will be reviewed by the [DPW] task force at [its] next meeting, which is as yet unscheduled.”

Questions regarding the proposed future DPW facility’s design, cost, location, and size, would mostly be answered prior to the Nov. 3 Special Town Meeting, Crane said.

If residents approve the next phases the project could appear before voters within the next year for funding via a debt exclusion override, he added.  

“We’re trying to advance the project as quickly as possible because the facility continues to deteriorate, despite our efforts to keep it functioning and maintain it,” Crane said.

The existing DPW facility located of 31 Pondside Road was constructed in the 1930s.

Crane said another aspect being examined for the proposed future DPW complex is the possibility of including another proposed project within the facility   – the Hampden County Regional Emergency Communications Center (RECC), which could serve the communities of Longmeadow, East Longmeadow, Ludlow, Wilbraham, and Hampden.

“I don’t think it can be because I heard that [the state] does not want to fund new construction, they only want to fund renovation and if that’s the case then it won’t be,” he added. “We are going to have that discussion as part of our process.”

Currently the top site in the first stage of planning is the Greenwood Center.  

The Select Board could vote to not join the planned five-town RECC or endorse the project sometime during one of its August meetings, Crane said.

The Greenwood Adult Center is another possible construction or renovation project that the town is also considering to undertake.

“We have just retained a design firm … So this next stage of design, which was funded by an amendment to a previous citizens petition article at Town Meeting should be kicking off any day now,” Crane said.

The next stage of design would examine Turner Park and the existing facility at the Greenwood Center as possible site locations, he added.