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Public safety complex not a definite for Lunt property

The EPA is going to test the site of the former Lunt Silversmith property on Federal Street. 
Recorder file photo

The EPA is going to test the site of the former Lunt Silversmith property on Federal Street. Recorder file photo

GREENFIELD — Building a new public safety complex on the former Lunt Silversmith property is something the mayor has talked about for some time, but now that he’s signed a purchase and sale agreement for the Federal Street property, he says it might not be the best place for a municipal facility.

“The feasibility study hasn’t been completed on a new public safety complex, so we’re moving ahead with this, and we’ll see what fits best down the road,” said Mayor William Martin.

Originally, Martin talked about building a public safety complex on the factory-store-restaurant site, while leaving the three baseball fields at the other end of the property.

He said the baseball fields will stay, and maybe even be expanded, but the future of the Federal Street side of the property is yet to be determined.

Martin said this week that if Town Council approves the $75,000 down payment and if the Bankruptcy Court approves the purchase and sale agreement, the town will put out a request for proposals for the property and see who answers.

He said proposals might eventually include a public safety complex, if the study shows it should go there and residents and town officials agree, but right now he is thinking more of a developer or developers building there so that the property stays on the tax rolls.

Martin said he will also go to the Town Council to ask the property be rezoned from industrial to limited commercial.

Martin and Economic Development Director Robert Pyers said a lot of consideration has gone into the negotiations with Lunt. Those considerations include use of the property, price, liability, redevelopment options, zoning changes and financing — what they’ve heard from people at several public forums they’ve held over the past two years.

The town has offered to pay $1.5 million for the property. Two appraisals were done, one by the town and one by the Bankruptcy Court, and both were for more than $2 million.

Martin said town assessors have appraised the property at $1.5 million and the three baseball fields at $5,000.

He said the $130,000 the town paid over the past two years to lease the property so that it had control of it, as well as the grants the town has spent to clean up the property, were taken into consideration when the town made its offer.

“This is a key property in town,” said Martin.

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