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Property owner to raffle off all expenses paid two-year lease

Date: 9/22/2010

Sept. 22, 2010

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

WESTFIELD -- City Councilor Gerry Tracy, owner of the property at 22 Elm St., will never say die.

His eatery and art house, the Tea Pot Gallery, may have closed in December due to economic woes but he's committed to reopening the space to new ventures. Tracy announced last week that his non-profit, Westfield Arts on the Green, which is also housed at 22 Elm St., will sponsor weekly musical acts in conjunction with a raffle for a two-year lease.

"There have been a lot of cries for the Tea Pot Gallery from young students and musicians. I'm not closing the door to art and music," Tracy said. "Raffling off a two-year lease [to the building] will give an opportunity to have somebody come into the building and have everything paid for."

Tracy will sell 1,000 $500 raffle tickets to cover the building's operating costs and to support Westfield Arts on the Green's initiative to keep arts alive in the city. He said a new tenant would be picked after all the raffle tickets are sold, not before.

Tracy noted his work with Westfield Gas & Electric to explore renewable energy options for 22 Elm St. "I want it to be the first green renewable building [in Westfield]," he added, citing that the city only uses 0.65 percent of energy from renewable sources.

When asked how downtown construction projects have impacted his business model, Tracy replied, "Progress is messy, noisy and sometimes a pain in the butt."

He said he plans on offering the two-year lease near the completion of the road and sidewalk constructions to ensure ample parking and accessibility for the incoming business owner.

Tracy noted this raffle would also raise funds to reinstate Westfield Arts on the Green's signature event, which usually fills the city's green with artists, musical acts and vendors throughout Labor Day weekend.

The building will reopen for live musical acts on Oct. 1 and 2.

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