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Feasibility Study Committee identifies potential sites for new senior center

Date: 6/12/2014

By Chris Maza

WILBRAHAM – The Senior Center Feasibility Study Committee has identified four potential sites for the proposed new building and is conducting additional research on those sites in advance of choosing an architect to complete the study.

Dennis Lopata, chair of the committee, said a review was conducted at its last meeting with the help of Building Inspector Lance Trevallion. Of the four locations, two are town property and two are private property. Two other sites on Soule Road and Stony Hill Road were also discussed, but were eventually removed from the list after it was discovered there were issues regarding conservation land.

“I am not at liberty to discuss the two areas that are private property because all parties have not yet been approached, but the two town-owned parcels are on Main Street in front of Mile Tree School – there is a soccer field and Memorial School,” he said.

The committee set parameters for the search that required the site be between three and five acres in the vicinity of Main Street, Soule Road, Springfield Street and Stony Hill Road.

We get a sense that unlike the Police Department, who is said to be interested in locating on Boston Road, our group of seniors don’t like traveling on Boston Road and like to stay out of high volume areas,” he said. “With that in mind, we chose those parameters and criteria when identifying streets.”

Keeping the building outside of the flood plain and accessibility to water, sewer and gas lines were also major factors, Lopata added.

“We are going to do some additional investigation into those six properties including reviewing any other issues,” he said. “No. 1, we have to talk to the property owners of the private properties and see if they are interested in the conversation. No. 2, if it was related to town owned property, but also involved the schools, we wanted to then pursue that with the [Hampden-Wilbraham Regional] School Committee.”

The Town Meeting approved an expenditure of up to $35,000 for the feasibility study to be conducted by an architect chosen through a bid process and Lopata said he anticipated someone would be selected by the beginning of August.

“We’ll hopefully be agreeing to a contract at that point and that is when we will take these three or four – or two or three – parcels to him and let him do his due diligence on each site,” he said. “We didn’t do any research into topography, changes in height, soil, and things of that nature that he needs to do to make a determination.”

The committee meets again on June 16, at which time the committee will continue its review of the potential sites as well as any additional information related to the request for proposals. That meeting will take place at 4 p.m. at the Senior Center.