Green commission tours sites for possible development
Date: 6/14/2010June 14, 2010.
By G. Michael Dobbs
SPRINGFIELD -- Members of the city's Green Commission looked at two parcels of land on June 9 for a possible "green industrial district."
Commission members Burton Freedman, Ronald Jordan, City Councilor James Ferrera and Martyn Gallagher, accompanied by Brian Connors and Stephen Cole of the Office of Planning and Economic Development, took a hour-long tour of a property at the industrial park adjacent to Performance Food Group, which is off Roosevelt Avenue, and the city-owned part of the former Chapman Valve site off of Goodwin Street in Indian Orchard.
Ferrera explained the "green" district would be used to attract new businesses to the city. The creation of the district would allow those businesses to be eligible for clean energy tax credits and other tax incentives.
"It would be unbelievable for the city to have an [industrial] park for green industry use," Ferrera said.
Ferrera noted the 25-acre site near Performance Food Group is attractive because it is adjacent to Interstate 291.
Connors noted the site has already been cleaned of any brownfield concerns and the wetland there would not prevent industrial use.
The City Council would be responsible for the creation of such a district and Connors said a zoning overlay would probably be the way to set up the requirements of the district.
The former Chapman Valve location is a 12-acre site owned by the city and cleaned for future use, Connor told the group.
Members of the commission said that size might matter in the decision of which parcel to use as a company choosing to build on the site might want room for expansion.
Connors said the Indian Orchard site might require additional incentives in order to make it more attractive.
The commission did not view a third possible location, but will gather information on it. The Chicopee River Business Park on the border of Chicopee and Springfield and currently under the management of the Westmass Area Development Corporation might be another location. There are between 10 to 20 acres available on the Springfield side of the park, Connors said.
Ferrera said the Green Commission, since its creation in January has worked to help the city become "green certified," which allows it to apply for up to $980,000 in grants.