WMECO building not good for public safety complex
GREENFIELD — The mayor has decided against the town purchasing the Western Massachusetts Electric Co. property on the corner of Shelburne and Colrain roads.
He had considered the possibility of building a new public safety complex there.
“It’s not going to work there,” said Martin. “The town looked at it and the access in and out of the property just would not be in the best interest of the town. There’s a lot of traffic in and out of properties in that area.”
Martin said another reason he has decided not to pursue the purchase of the property is that it is a 40,000-square-foot building in the commercial zone that would best be left on the tax rolls.
“Someone is going to buy it,” he said. “WMECO has told me that there has been some interest. It hasn’t said by whom, but I think it best for the town to step back and let it happen.”
Priscilla Ress, an electric company spokeswoman, said WMECO is currently in “confidential discussions with potential buyers.”
The property is assessed by the town at $1.8 million.
Ress said WMECO is looking to get the best price for its customers.
According to Greenfield Assessor Audrey Murphy, WMECO will pay $37,829 in real estate taxes for the property this year.
WMECO announced late last year that it will close the local service center and move its about 20 employees to Hadley.
Martin went to the Town Council shortly after the announcement to discuss the possibility of locating a public safety complex there.
The mayor and Public Safety Commission feel the town needs a new public safety complex, because the town’s fire and police stations, at 13,197 square feet and 11,498 square feet respectively, are too small.
The town’s emergency management services is located in the boiler room of the fire station.
“The town has completed its public safety complex feasibility study,” said Martin. “We need a complex; we know that. It’s still just a matter of when and where it happens.”
The town has also considered the former Lunt Silversmiths property on Federal Street, although that deal has been complicated by the presence of contamination in the water table.