Councilor proposes naming parking garage to honor mayor

  • At-Large City Councilor Isaac Mass proposes naming the city’s parking garage after Mayor William F. Martin.  RECORDER STAFF/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 3/14/2019 11:40:53 PM

GREENFIELD — The city’s new $10 million parking garage could soon be named the “William F. Martin Parking Garage,” following a recommendation brought forward by At-Large City Councilor Isaac Mass.

Mass sent his proposal to his fellow Greenfield City Councilors Thursday. The proposal, he hopes, will be taken up at the council’s March 27 special meeting and then sent to the city’s Planning and Construction Committee. After the committee gives its recommendation, it can forward it to the council for a majority vote — which likely could happen as early as April.

“This is really about just recognizing the mayor for his service,” Mass said.

He noted that this proposal may not receive the support of his fellow councilors, who in the summer voted no confidence in the mayor and called for his resignation.

“Although we don’t always agree on everything,” Mass said, “he deserves to be recognized for the service he’s given the community.”

Mass said he has been thinking about bringing this forward for several months now, but he was spurred following a Massachusetts Municipal Association meeting Wednesday night.

Mass, who is the vice president of the Massachusetts Municipal Councilors’ Association, said the group that night was discussing mayors in light of the embattled Fall River mayor who was recently reelected after being arrested on federal fraud charges. He said it helped him to reflect on the bigger picture of the council’s dynamics with Martin in Greenfield.

“It’s a somewhat adversarial relationship between a mayor and a city council because they’re different branches of government and are supposed to act as checks and balances,” Mass said.

Martin, who could not be reached for comment, is not expected to run for reelection this November. He is the second-ever Greenfield mayor and by the end of his term this year, he will have served 10 years in the city’s highest office. Previously, Martin, a lifelong resident, served on the Town Council and on several town committees and boards.

Martin served in Vietnam and has been appointed to several boards locally and statewide, helping to represent the interests of fellow veterans.

He graduated from Greenfield High School in 1962, Greenfield Community College in 1991 and University of Massachusetts with a degree in nursing in 1994. He has worked in nursing and real estate locally.

The 270-space, four-floor parking garage on Olive Street opened in November, following more than a decade of discourse on building one downtown.

The parking garage has been pointed to as a sign of political determination, mostly at the hands of Martin and former state Senate President Stan Rosenberg.

In 2016, after four previous failed attempts at securing state funding for the downtown garage, Martin helped to obtain the funds. The state committed $7.5 million and left Greenfield with $2.5 million to spend.

At the opening of the parking garage in November, then-state Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash said, “to be honest with you, we don’t fund the building of parking garages typically,” but the political will of Rosenberg and Martin pushed it forward.

Ash, at the time, talked about all of the updates to downtown Greenfield — from the new courthouse to the John Olver Transit Center to the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office building on Bank Row, and now the parking garage.

The parking garage project has not been without its fair share of criticism.

Most recently, city councilors have questioned whether it will generate the projected revenue to offset the costs of building the garage and other development in the city.

Others in town have wondered whether it was worth the spending when they see infrastructure projects, like working on water and sewer and a new fire station, as more of a priority.

You can reach Joshua Solomon at:

413-772-0261, ext. 264

Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906


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