Lunt ball field purchase done
Greenfield recently closed on the baseball field property, paying $660,000 for them, so the town’s youngest baseball players now have three fields of their own to play on for another 50 or more years.. (Recorder file/Paul Franz) Purchase photo reprints »
GREENFIELD — After several years of ups and downs, while the town continued to go to bat in its attempt to purchase the former Lunt Silversmith’s baseball fields, Greenfield now owns them.
Mayor William Martin said the town recently closed on the baseball fields, paying $660,000 for them, so the town’s youngest baseball players now have three fields of their own to play on for another 50 or more years.
After the closing, the town received $179,000 from the owner for back taxes owed.
“The fields will now forever be the town’s,” said Martin. “The next step will be to involve our citizens to figure out what they want there.”
Martin said the town has talked about enhancing the ball fields by creating another town park — possibly a mini Fenway Park.
“We’ll definitely enhance the area,” he said.
Martin said he envisions children playing on the three fields during baseball season and then the town using the property for things like outdoor events, movies and plays.
“We’re looking into buying a portable stage,” said Martin. “We could lease it out so it would eventually pay for itself and then make the town money.”
Martin said another next step will be to rezone the property to commercial and residential — the same as the surrounding area.
“It’s currently zoned industrial, which doesn’t fit in that residential neighborhood,” he said.
Martin said the town also plans to take the old factory for taxes owed by the owner, but needs to work things out with Bankruptcy Court and the state and federal environmental agencies to decide how to go about cleaning it up once it takes ownership.
“If the town takes it, Greenfield will be able to apply for grants to clean it up,” said Martin.
“These fields are really going to add to the treasure of arts and recreation we have here in Greenfield,” said Martin. “It now gives us the opportunity to make improvements to a unique green space in the center of Greenfield.
“It also gives us the opportunity to protect this land,” he said. “This could have gone a different way and had an adverse outcome on the neighborhood, depending on who might have bought it.”
Martin said the rest of the property will eventually go back on the tax rolls, which is another plus for the town.
He said Lunt will continue to own the newer building, but hopes to sell it.
“If it is sold, the town will receive all back taxes for that part of the property, too,” said Martin. “It will come out of the sale price. It’s a win-win for the town.”
Martin said he will be meeting with Greenfield Minor League over the next few weeks to discuss future plans for the ball field property.
“The town will enter into some sort of agreement with the Minor League,” said Martin. “Maybe like the agreement it has had with Lunt — the league will take care of the fields as part of its payment.”