Support CPA Resolution
By Erin O'Connor, Staff Writer
AGAWAM City Councilor George Bitzas has been working with Mayor Richard A. Cohen in the drafting of a resolution that would amend the Community Preservation Act (CPA). Bitzas and Cohen are currently seeking the support of local leaders for the resolution. The City Council will cast their votes on the resolution at their meeting on June 4.
"The senior center will hopefully break ground in September," Bitzas said. "Because of the CPA, the way that the law is written, it cannot allow construction of any senior center. We will try to lobby the legislators to amend. They have amended it [CPA Act] three times before, to benefit not only Agawam but Westfield and to benefit every city and town to get extra money."
Westfield is also planning the construction of a new senior center.
According to Bitzas, letters asking for support of the resolution have been sent to State Senator Steven Buonoconti and soon to be Westfield acting Mayor Charlie Medieros.
"I think with all of the economic difficulties that communities face in the local and federal government, the money that is paid into the Community Preservation Act is from taxpayers, and I feel that the money should be utilized for such things. The maintenance and building of the senior center is for one of the largest populations in Agawam," Cohen said.
Cohen said the CPA, when written, was "well done" but there were certain things left out.
"As time progresses we find out the things to make it a more viable document," he said.
Cohen said the resolution has been sent to the CPA Commission, the head of the CPA, the State House and the State Senate.
"Who knows how long it will take," Cohen said. "We would have to get a number and enough votes. It is certainly worth the action and worth the effort. It will certainly allow us to utilize the funds for a very appropriate cause."
"I hope the full council will support the idea. It will be very symbolic for the council," Bitzas said. "It will be a nice gesture of the city council and of Agawam and Westfield to show their support."
The CPA was signed by Governor Paul Cellucci and Lieutenant Governor Jane Swift on September 14, 2000.
It is a tool to help communities preserve open space and historic sites, and create affordable housing and recreational facilities. More information can be found at www.communitypreservation.org