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City finally delivers on promise for sewers

Date: 11/3/2009

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

AGAWAM -- Past and present city officials were on hand for the ceremonial groundbreaking of the first phase of Feeding Hills Sewer Extension Project last Friday.

Work on phase one of the six-phase project began several weeks ago as evidenced by the sizable construction crew, heaps of transported earth and giant piping along South Westfield Street.

"It's extremely gratifying to have taken this project off the cutting room floor and work this into a reality," City Councilor Robert Rossi, chair of the Ad Hoc Sewer Committee, said. "To those residents [who protested the project] in the beginning, I know it was very frustrating but we're here. The sounds of progress are just over the hill. What we need to do now is stay focused and move forward."

Rossi added breaking the Feeding Hills Sewer Extension Project into six phases has proven more cost-effective with Phase I totaling $1.8 million as opposed to the estimated $3.6 million.

He noted the initial project created under the previous administration called for the completion of the sewer extension in its entirety, totaling $31 million and at a cost of $19,650 to each affected homeowner. The project will now cost homeowners $2,557 each, in addition to the Special Benefit Assessment of $1,750, the General Benefit Assessment of $807 and the optional sewer hookup.

"Why should one part of town have all the facilities?" Joanne Cappuccilli, a resident of Red Fox Drive, and wife of John Cappuccilli, resident member of the Ad Hoc Sewer Committee, asked. "[Our home is included] in phase four or five [of the sewer extension] and we're looking forward to it."

Rossi said the Sewer Committee will be working throughout the winter to finalize the plans for the second and third phases of the project, which will likely be grouped as one.

Phase I includes 1.5 miles of gravity sewers running west from Shoemaker Lane on the southerly side of Route 57 to South Westfield Street to a point north of the former police academy.

Phases II and III will construct several pumping stations and bring sewer service to Bradford Drive and Tannery Drive.

The sewer will then be extended to Barbara Lane, Gina Drive, Joanne Circle and Kathy Terrace in Phase IV. Phase V extends sewers into Partridge Court, Pheasant Run Circle, Pheasant Run Court, Red Fox Drive, White Fox Drive and Woodcock Court. Phase VI will allow service to Karen Lynn Circle.

"Feeding Hills is where it's at today," Rossi said. "We're gonna need sewers to welcome new [economic] growth. No one wants to invest [in an area] without sewers."

City Councilor Donald Rheault, member of the Ad Hoc Sewer Committee, explained the economic recession has worked in the town's favor allowing for the Phase I to be completed at half the cost. He added the remaining funds will be put toward subsequent phases.

Rheault said the committee plans to hit the ground running with Phases II and III once Phase I is completed in approximately one year.