Construction projects forge ahead throughout city
By Carley Dangonacarley@thereminder.com
WESTFIELD The revitalization efforts in the city continue with the progress of numerous construction projects.
In an interview with Reminder Publications
, Jeff Daley, city advancement officer, provided an update on projects in downtown Westfield, on Airport Industrial Road and at Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport.
The city seeks to establish a commercial destination space in a block framed by Elm Street, Arnold Street, the Summer Street extension and Church Street. The initial concept included a six-story, 130,000 square-foot commercial building; a 1,800 square-foot, one-story intermodal Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) shelter; and a 500-space parking garage.
"The plans are coming to fruition," Daley said, adding that he expects to receive the first draft of the physical plans in the immediate future.
He called the project "a game-changer for downtown Westfield."
Also in progress is the cleanup of 76 to 84 Elm St., a building consisting of four single-story storefronts, in preparation for demolition of the site. Contractors are currently working on the removal of asbestos from the location, according to Daley.
"The building has been an eye sore for many years. Its cleanup and demolition will prepare the area for future projects," Daley stated. "We're working hard to keep the projects moving forward."
Daley also expected the Airport Industrial Road re-construction to start by the end of the week, adding that a kickoff meeting was conducted on Feb. 12 with Mass-West Construction Inc., winners of the project bid.
The goal of that project is to create a safer roadway that will accommodate the existing businesses and the future creation of the 80-acre Airport Industrial Park.
"This is a long-awaited project that road has been a disaster for years," Daley noted. "It is vital to have that road safe. It's not conducive to vehicular traffic let alone the transportation necessary to sustain businesses." He added that he expected the approximately $1 million dollar project to be completed this summer.
Daley added that the road currently leads to 10 to 12 businesses now, but will potentially service 10 to 20 more once the industrial park is completed. One aspect of the project is the integration of an improved waterway system that will make it possible to support all the companies.
According to him, there are two companies that have come forward and are "very, very interested in [moving into] the park." While Daley would not disclose the names of the companies, he stated that they are not distribution operations.
A third project the city is working on is a complete overhaul of the runway at Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport.
"The project is in the planning stage," Daley stated. "We're putting together a finance package and looking into what funds are available from the Federal Aviation Administration and Massachusetts Department of Transportation."
He continued, "If we receive funding, we will proceed with a complete remodel of the runway. The plan would be to have the 120-day rebuild completely done by November 2013."
Daley explained that runways usually have a 20-year lifespan and Barnes is 28 years old.
"It's a huge infrastructure project. We need a safer, more reliable, state-of-the-art runway to support all aircraft. It's the right time it's desperately needed," he said.
Daley noted, "The improvements would support the traffic of Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, allow the 104th Fighter Wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard to keep our nation safe, and allow a premier runway for recreational users."
For more information and updates about the ongoing projects in the city, visit www.westfielddevelopment.com/index.html