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Greenfield looking at options 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 — The town is looking at its options as it moves forward with plans for the former Lunt Silversmith property on Federal Street.

Those options include negotiating a new contract with the owner, taking the property by friendly tax title, or buying the fields and design center first, and waiting to purchase the factory building, according to Robert Pyers, the town’s economic development director.

The town has gone back to Town Council and asked it to revote $1.5 million so that it is ready to buy the entire property, if it decides that is the best option.

The original agreement between the town and Lunt property owners expired at the end of March, so the $1.5 million that the council originally voted became null and void.

Pyers said that is fine, because the council would have had to revote the amount anyway, because the town’s lawyer said the original vote was taken when not all councilors were there, and it had to be a two-thirds vote of the entire council.

Pyers said in the meantime, the town will continue to work with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, the attorney general and the owners of the property.

“We may end up acquiring the property in stages,” said Pyers. “We’d like to at least buy the fields and the design center,” he said. “Then we could work on the older portion.”

Pyers said the town is currently looking at the possibility of getting a Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation grant to pay for the land on which the three ball fields are located.

He said the good news is that the town has been told by MassDevelopment that it will receive $250,000 toward the demolition and environmental cleanup of the factory site if it takes ownership within the next year.

“The bad news is that we didn’t get the $400,000 we asked for, but we’re happy with $250,000,” said Pyers.

Pyers said testing for contamination has come to a halt for now, because the town is deciding how to pay to install an additional eight wells and do vapor monitoring that DEP has asked be done. He said the additional wells would cost about $48,000 to install.

“We don’t have the means right now,” he said.

Pyers said once the town decides what it wants to do, he is confident the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will step in and help with the cleanup, just like it did with the former Bendix property.

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