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6 acres of dreams

Planning begins for best uses of former Lunt fields

GREENFIELD — The town, which is about to take ownership of the former Lunt Silversmith property on Federal Street, has started making plans for the six acres that include three baseball fields.

Mayor William Martin and his Department of Planning and Development staff last week met with Stantec of Boston, the company that will create the designs for that section of the property, to discuss uses.

Eric Twarog, the town’s director of planning, said Greenfield heard its residents “loud and clear,” when they told the mayor and others to save the ball fields there.

“That’s what we are going to do,” said Twarog.

Martin said the town will pay Stantec to design the plans with unrestricted grant money.

“We expect to see some ideas for the ball fields, the area of the property that will be the recreation area, within the next 30 days,” said Martin.

The mayor said the town will have to take ownership of the property before any work or improvements can begin. He said the town should own the property within the next couple of months.

The town will pay $1.5 million for the property, and the sale will have to go through Bankruptcy Court, because the property is in bankruptcy.

Martin said he expects Stantec’s plans to include multiple recreational uses for the property, including the three ball fields.

Twarog and Martin said once the town owns the property, it will apply for park grants through the Department of Conservation and Recreation, with the hopes that they will cover the cost of whatever needs to be done.

“We are working closely with the Minor League,” said Twarog. “They are major stakeholders in those fields and the concession stand there.”

Town officials held multiple public meetings last year to find out what people wanted for the site, if the town decided to purchase it, so there won’t be any more meetings to discuss plans, at least for the six acres where the ball fields are located.

“We’ll go ahead with improvements once we have the money, because we already know what people want,” said Martin. “We heard people and plan to give them what they want.”

Twarog said the town will be working on a tight schedule to get its application in for a park grant by the end of June, but said it is doable.

Martin said the sale of the property probably won’t be finalized until at least April.

The town will eventually start looking at what to do with the rest of the property, which includes the old factory and the building that once housed a store and restaurant.

There has already been talk about possibilities, including retail space, a new public safety complex, or a new senior center.

Martin said he will be asking the town to rezone the property. The remaining 3.7 acres would be rezoned from general industrial to limited commercial. The ball fields would be zoned urban residential. Both zones would be consistent with the areas that surround them at this time.

The town has assessed the property at $1.5 million and the three baseball fields at $5,000.

James Lunt announced in November 2009 that Lunt Silversmiths was to become strictly a design and product development business with an office in Greenfield.

Lunt’s parent company, Rogers, Lunt and Bowlen, decided to sell the Lunt brand to its now 177-year-old Taunton-based competitor, Reed and Barton.

A new skatepark would fit nicely into this plan. Check out what Keene, NH has built for boarders as well as the master plan for a new park in Brattleboro, VT. Northampton, MA has a wonderful facility, also.

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