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Outer Belt association sends letter to developers

The property above was once the home of a Food Mart grocery store. Reminder photo by Natasha Clark
By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD Officials of the Outer Belt Civic Association sent a letter last week to the developers of a proposed Stop & Shop shopping plaza near the intersection of Allen and Cooley Streets.

The property was once the home of a Food Mart grocery store. The principal tenant at this time is Adventureland.

Walter Gould, the president of the neighborhood group, told Reminder Publications that they hope to hear from the developers in a week's time. There has been one public meeting about the development on Oct. 25 that was attended by about 90 people.

Gould said that the new supermarket would be 63,000 square-feet in size, plus there would be another 10,400 square feet in additional retail space. How that space would be used has not been specified at this time, he added.

The text of the letter follows:

"This letter is in response to the presentation of the proposal that was made by Hayes/Kaufman Developers for Stop & Shop on October 25, 2005 to the Outerbelt Neighborhood. The presentation was very comprehensive and was delivered well. The approximate 90 residents who attended the public meeting took the opportunity to let the presenters know what their concerns were. The issues that the Outerbelt Neighborhood is concerned with are on going. We have been dealing with these issues for years.

"Let us take a moment to reiterate our stand on Stop & Shop. We are not against Stop & Shop and we are not against Stop & Shop coming in the A&P Plaza. We work with our neighbors, residents and businesses. For the most part we (business and residents) are concerned about the same things. What affects the residents also affects the business and the customers of those businesses.

We took the time to listen to the proposal. We now feel confident that you will listen to our concerns. We have bulleted our issues and concerns. It would be difficult to present everything in letterform.

The following are the items that we cannot support:

Encroachment, the taking of the four residential homes on Allen Street

10,000 square feet for other retail

Proposed location of a new traffic light on Cooley Street

Noise pollution with the increase of delivery trucks

Increased truck traffic on Allen Street. We cannot control vendor deliveries

2 proposed curb cuts on Allen Street

"The following are the issues/concerns of the proposal to the Allen/Cooley Street Corridor:

Traffic coming from East Longmeadow going toward Allen/Cooley St Corridor. This is a two- lane road with traffic back up to Cannon Circle. People come up the outside lane to make 2 lanes for the left hand turn. Cars are unable to get through on the other side of the street going toward East Longmeadow.

Ramblewood Estates residents cannot get in or out of their access roads on Cooley St or Allen St now

Cut through traffic at the Welkers Gulf station

Traffic backs up to the Devine St exit at 5 Town Plaza. With the new proposed light the traffic back up will be worse between the traffic signal and the wait for pedestrians crossing.

Cooley Street is a four-lane road sending traffic into three (3) two lane roads.

Pedestrians crossing at all four corners are not necessarily efficient or safe.

We are trying to do to much at the Allen/Cooley street light in the name of safety, it will become a lighted, signed, left turn, pedestrian crosswalk fiasco!

There are 15 curb cuts at the Allen/Cooley St light area not including the traffic traveling north, south, east and west on Allen/Cooley Streets

Snow removal is an issue. Where do we put the snow? How will snow and ice affect the proposal? We have problems now, without the existence of Stop & Shop.

We are asking for letters from all abutters, including businesses. We have been speaking to our business neighbors. They have not seen nor heard of the proposal that will affect their businesses. The only person who seems to know about the proposal is Stan Proulauskus from Burger King.

Signage will there be signs on the buildings? If there are pole signs where would they be and what size would they be?

Question asked that has not been answered: What will happen with the land covenant that Stop & Shop still holds behind the Five Town Plaza?

Concern of a possible gas station in the A&P Plaza similar to Holyoke and Agawam.

We have proposed a residents "A" buffer, 5 to 20 feet all the way around the A&P Plaza this would correspond to what has been done at the Five Town Plaza.

"The mission of the folks in the Outerbelt area is to keep the integrity of the neighborhood and maintain the quality of life that the residents of the community expect. This is a proposal that will change the Allen/Cooley street corridor forever. People live in the Outerbelt area of Springfield because of the suburban life that the City of Homes can provide. We cannot compromise the integrity of the neighborhood or the quality of life that is so important to the residents of the Outerbelt area."


Outerbelt Civic Association

Walter Gould, President

Mary Dionne, Vice President