Negotiations continue for permanent Greenfield fire station site; property being prepared with demolition work

  • Despite some recent demolition work, negotiations are still ongoing for the former open-air market property on Main Street near Coombs Avenue, the desired location of a new permanent fire station. As part of the environmental remediation process that needed to be done, the greenhouse was recently taken down. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Despite some recent demolition work, negotiations are still ongoing for the former open-air market property on Main Street near Coombs Avenue, the desired location of a new permanent fire station. The property — which includes the recently removed greenhouse, the house that abuts it and an apartment building — came forward last year as the low bidder after a request for proposals went out in fall 2020. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • The temporary fire station is being constructed in the Hope Street parking lot with buildings for equipment and personnel. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 7/22/2021 6:44:49 PM

GREENFIELD — Despite some recent demolition work, negotiations are still ongoing for the former open-air market property on Main Street near Coombs Avenue, the desired location of a new permanent fire station.

As part of the environmental remediation process that needed to be done on the site, the greenhouse on Main Street was recently taken down, Mayor Roxann Wedegartner reported to City Council Wednesday night.

“In the city’s due diligence, there was some discovery of some environmental issues that need to be taken care of by the owner,” she said, noting that the property has been used in many different ways since the 1700s. “This is not terribly unusual, especially if you’re buying a property in Greenfield, whether it’s a house or a commercial property.”

Wedegartner said that as part of the purchase and sale process, it is the owner’s responsibility to take care of those issues.

“They are meeting their responsibility,” she said.

In an interview, Wedegartner said there are issues in the other buildings on the property that need to be taken care of before they can also be demolished.

“They have to give us a clean site in order for us to proceed with a purchase and sale,” Wedegartner said.

The property — which includes the recently removed greenhouse, the house that abuts it and an apartment building on Coombs Avenue — came forward last year as the low bidder after a request for proposals went out in fall 2020.

“It was the location that satisfied most of the requirements as a Fire Department, and it was the lowest bidder,” Wedegartner said.

She noted this wasn’t a situation where the city had to go with the lowest bid — in this case, it was the property that most matched the intended use. In particular, it offered “excellent access to Main Street.”

Other sites considered, such as a building at Wells and Main streets, didn’t have as good of access to Main Street, she said, explaining that the front entrance would need to be on Wells Street.

Although a timeline isn’t certain, Wedegartner said once the sale goes through, architects will be cleared to start designing the new station.

Meanwhile, progress on the temporary fire station on Hope Street is on track for occupancy in August, according to a city press release. The apparatus bays, which will house the fire engines, rescue vehicles and other firefighting equipment, are in place, and framing for interior rooms and partitions in the bays is “moving toward completion.”

Once the Fire Department moves into the temporary facilities on Hope Street, the city can demolish the current station on Main Street to make way for the new Greenfield Public Library. The city expects to use the temporary station for about two years before moving to the former open-air market property.

“We are working daily to ensure the best and safest possible scenario for our firefighters during this transition,” Chief Robert Strahan said in the release. “I’m grateful the timeline for this move is on schedule and we look forward to beginning to get set up next month.”

Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne




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