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Town Council wants to borrow to buy Hapco building

  • The area including the Hapco building and adjacent parking lot off of Olive Street in Greenfield is the site of a proposed parking garage. <br/>Recorder/Paul Franz

    The area including the Hapco building and adjacent parking lot off of Olive Street in Greenfield is the site of a proposed parking garage.
    Recorder/Paul Franz

  • The former Hapco auto parts store on Olive St.  Recorder/Paul Franz

    The former Hapco auto parts store on Olive St. Recorder/Paul Franz

  • The area including the Hapco building and adjacent parking lot off of Olive Street in Greenfield is the site of a proposed parking garage. <br/>Recorder/Paul Franz
  • The former Hapco auto parts store on Olive St.  Recorder/Paul Franz

GREENFIELD — Later this month, Town Council will consider purchasing the former Hapco auto parts building on Olive Street by borrowing $150,000.

The council in February unanimously rejected the mayor’s proposal to use available town money to buy the property, saying it wanted more time to consider borrowing.

Mayor William Martin would like to buy the property from the Greenfield Redevelop-ment Authority, because he believes the town has a better shot at getting the funding needed to build a municipal garage.

Precinct 5 Town Councilor David Singer said in February that he was against tying up $150,000 of the town’s surplus “free cash,” though he supports the purchase.

The council will most likely vote on the matter March 19 at its regular monthly meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. in Greenfield Community Television’s studio at 393 Main St.

Martin does not object to borrowing, as long as the town can take ownership before the state finalizes its transportation bond bill later this month.

Sen. Stanley Rosenberg and Rep. Paul Mark have brought their requests for $5 million and $2.5 million respectively for a municipal garage in Greenfield. Both said it will be a few weeks before the town learns whether it will receive that money.

The former Hapco building was bought by the Greenfield Redevelopment Authority in 2008 for $130,000. Martin was the authority’s chairman at the time. The additional $20,000 Martin is asking for would cover expenses and the five years’ interest incurred by the GRA.

The intent is to raze the building and use the land for part of a 300-space, three- to four-story municipal parking garage. Demolition of the building is estimated to cost about $50,000.

A downtown parking garage has been years in the making. With the courthouse renovation project beginning and rail service set to come to Greenfield by early next year, Martin and other town leaders would like to see construction of the parking garage completed at least before the courthouse returns in three to five years.

Martin is hoping the town will find a way to do the project without affecting taxation.

“We don’t want the project to cost (local) taxpayers,” said Martin.

He said the town could end up paying for the project with a combination of grants and a revenue bond, if needed.

The town applied to MassWorks for a grant of $9.3 million for the project, but was turned down in 2012.

Martin estimates that construction of the municipal parking garage will cost between $5 million and $7 million.

The town has already spent about $650,000 for assessments and studies of the Olive Street property, including a preliminary geotechnical engineering and a schematics design, as well as a downtown parking study.

If the council approves borrowing $150,000 and the state includes money Rosenberg and Paul have requested, the garage could open by 2017.

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