Use this search box to find articles that have run in our newspapers over the last several years.

Agawam council backs $11.63M plan to renovate building for police

Date: 5/25/2022

AGAWAM – City councilors agreed unanimously on May 16 to buy the former Hub Insurance building on Suffield Street and turn it into a police station.

Mayor William Sapelli had proposed the $11,628,078 plan to renovate the property at 1070 Suffield St., Agawam, and close the current Police Headquarters at 681 Springfield St., Feeding Hills. Councilors expressed some concern about spending taxpayer funds, but agreed that the purchase-and-renovate plan makes financial sense.

“We are in dire need of this safety complex and I hope my fellow councilors will stand by this,” said Dino Mercandante. “My only concern is that the administration gets behind this and they put the current police station up for sale, a private sale, and it gets put back on our tax-paying rolls.”

The current police building is a converted elementary school built in 1916. It was renovated as a police station in 1987. Coincidentally, that is the same year the Hub building, formerly the Oaks banquet hall, was built.

The $11.63 million price tag for the new building includes the $2.15 million cost of buying the property, as well as $7.73 million for construction and $1.75 million in moving expenses. The council spent $28,800 earlier this year to hire a consultant to study how the Hub building could be repurposed for police.

Sapelli had said this proposal would cost about half as much as building a new facility, as the Hub building already has a good roof, walls, foundation, electrical, heating and plumbing systems, and even some offices and furniture that can be used by police with little modification.

Councilors on May 16 also heard from the mayor and Town Treasurer Melissa Zawadzki about their capital spending plan for the next five years.

Councilor George Bitzas noted that the mayor is proposing spending $400,000 per year on street repairs and $200,000 on sidewalk repairs, and asked if those numbers can be increased.

Sapelli responded that the Department of Public Works had asked for $500,000 and $250,000, but that he is trying to keep spending down, as taxpayers are being squeezed by inflation. He said if the town receives any free money, he would add it to the street and sidewalk maintenance budgets.