Editorial: There must be 50 ways (to re-use Wilson’s)

  • President Kevin J. O’Neil announces his retirement and the closing of Wilson’s Department Store in Greenfield on Monday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Published: 12/1/2019 8:46:10 AM

Did you and your family indulge in 2019’s newest parlor game over the Thanksgiving dinner table — that is, what to do with the soon-to-be-vacant Wilson’s building?

Ideas are popping up fast and furious on social media and on the street. Of course, the decision rests not with the town, not with us, not with anyone besides the owners of the limited partnership American House LLC, based in Connecticut. Part-owner of that entity and President of Wilson’s Department Store, Kevin J. O’Neil said he is still deciding the downtown site’s future use. With tongue firmly in cheek and with apologies to singer/songwriter Paul Simon, we think there must be at least 50 ways to re-use Wilson’s. Here goes:

1. Downtown hotel and banquet center; 2. New home of the Greenfield Public Library; 3. Thorne’s Marketplace-style retail center; 4. Greenfield Community College child care center; 5. Jail annex for ICE detainees; 6. Food truck court in parking lot; 7. Dexter Marsh Memorial Dinosaur Museum and Study Center; 8. Greenfield Virtual Commonwealth School; 9. Black box theater; 10. Year-round farmers and flea market; 11. Greenfield Public Safety Complex; 12. Donald J. Trump Presidential Library; 4. Movie set and home of GCTV; 15. Future Franklin County Regional K-12 School; 16. Bowling alley; 17. Staging area for the zombie apocalypse; 18. Underground railroad stop for immigrants; 19. Self-storage units; 20. Pieds a terre-style lofts and apartments; 21. Condominiums; 22. Recycling facility; 23. Convention center; 24. Homeless shelter; 25. Teen Center; 26. Skateboard park; 27. Amazon fulfillment center; 28. Apple Store; 29. BFMC Mental Health Center; 30. Franklin County Regional Multi-faith Church; 31. Roller rink; 32. Folksingers, Fiddlers and Poets Hall of Fame; 33. Wal-Mart; 34. Target’s; 35. Macy’s; 36. Poor farm; 37. Parking lot; 38. Peace center and retreat; 39. Pentagon annex for the New Civil War; 40. Pot emporium and grow space; 41. Dollar Store; 42. Climate change think tank; 43. Pocket park; 44. Video gaming and rehab center; 45. Senior living and retirement community; 46. Small Farms Study Center; 47. Downtown police station; 48. L.L. Bean Outlet Store; 49. Down-sized home of Hampshire College; 50. Old-fashioned department store.

Are we close, Kevin? Greenfield awaits your decision with bated breath.




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