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Wilbraham eyes meeting with RECC communities

Date: 7/30/2015

WILBRAHAM – The Board of Selectmen hopes to host selectmen and town officials from the neighboring communities of East Longmeadow, Hampden, Ludlow, and Longmeadow to discuss the proposed Hampden County Regional Emergency Communications Center (RECC).

At its July 27 meeting, the board voted in favor of reaching out to the four nearby towns – Town Administrator Nick Breault would contact town administrators or managers from each of the communities to gain feedback regarding the idea.

Recently, Ludlow voted to participate in the next round of grants to continue the studying the possibility of creating a RECC.

A consultant team, representing the Carrell Group, have visited most of the communities and presented information regarding the proposed $5.7 million project to the towns.   

Funding for the 911 grants come from a surcharge off of cell phones.

Selectman Robert Russell noted if the communities do not work together to discuss the RECC it would be like “herding cats.”

Fire Chief Francis Nothe said there are different views across the boards of selectmen of the five towns.

“Everybody’s kind of afraid to take a step forward or just say that, ‘We’re not interested in moving forward,’” he added.

Russell said another issue that would benefit conversation between the communities is Chapter 70 funding formula for local schools.

“We’re going to be much stronger if we speak with one voice and think and get this information out at the same time as opposed to going our own way,” he added. “I sort of feel as though the statehouse likes it for us to all go our separate ways and they get to control everything rather than we actually a unified concern.”

Selectman Susan Bunnell said a meeting between the five towns should be scheduled sometime in September and the topic of Chapter 70 funding should be the focus of a separate meeting.

“We should do it sooner than later before we get into the budget cycle,” Board of Selectmen Chair Robert Boilard said.  

Russell said another idea would be to invite state Sen. Eric Lesser to this meeting because all of the towns fall within his district.

In other business, the board voted to close a portion of Stony Hill Road from the intersection of Tinkham Road to Springfield Street from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 4 and 5 with an Aug. 6 rain date for water main project.

Joe Alves, vice president of Monson-based American Concrete and Asphalt, the petitioner for the project, said the water main project would take place near 690-B and 911 Stony Hill Road. The water main is part of a proposed housing development project that has yet to come before the Planning Board.

John Masuck of R. Levesque Associates, representing Alves, said two eight-inch water main stubs to service future roadways would be installed at the two addresses.

“They would be two short cul-de-sac streets,” he added.” This would be done just in advance of roadway paving that is scheduled for the near future - the idea is to get all the utility work done ahead of that.”

Alves later told Reminder Publications there would be a one-mile detour for the road closure and police officers would also be stationed at either end of the closure signs.

Masuck said the proposed housing development would include at least 10 homes, which could come before the Planning Board at its Aug. 19 meeting.

Russell, during the meeting, said the town should include a notification of the road closure on its website.

“It’s going to be a big deal,” he added.