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Council OKs money for Hapco property


Next step in move toward a downtown parking garage

Greenfield Recorder 03/20/2014, Page A01

By ANITA FRITZ Recorder Staff

GREENFIELD — Town Council has approved Greenfield’s purchase of the former Hapco auto parts building on Olive Street to make way for a municipal garage by borrowing $150,000.

The town needs to own the building if Greenfield is to receive somewhere between $2.5 million and $5 million from the state for construction.

Sen. Stanley Rosenberg, D-Amherst, and Rep. Paul Mark, D-Peru, have requested $5 million and $2.5 million respectively from the transportation bond bill for a municipal garage in Greenfield.

It will be several weeks before the town learns whether it will receive the money from the state, the legislators said.

In February, the council unanimously rejected the mayor’s proposal to use available town money to buy the property, saying it wanted more time to consider borrowing instead.

On Wednesday night, the council approved the request to borrow the money, so that the town can purchase the property from the Greenfield Redevelopment Authority, which bought it in 2008, when Mayor William Martin was the authority’s chairman.

The authority bought the property for $130,000 and has invested an additional $20,000 since the purchase.

The town intends to raze the building and use the land to build a three- to four-story municipal parking garage with 438 spaces.

The town estimates it will cost about $50,000 to demolish the building.

A downtown garage has been years in the making. With the courthouse renovation project beginning and rail service set to come to Greenfield by early next year, Martin and other town leaders would like to see construction of the parking garage completed at least before the courthouse returns in three to five years.

Martin said the town has not yet estimated what the entire project will cost — he said it could be as much as $7 million or $8 million — but said he hopes the town will find a way to do the project and pay off the loan without affecting taxation.

He said the town could end up paying for the project with a combination of grants and a revenue bond.

The town applied to MassWorks for a grant of $9.3 million for the project in 2012, but was turned down.

The town has already spent about $650,000 for assessments and studies of the Olive Street property, including a preliminary geotechnical engineering and a schematics design, as well as a downtown parking study.

If the state includes money for the project in its transportation bond, the garage could be built and open by 2017.