Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Opposition to the Use of Wolf Swamp Fields for a DPW Site

This letter was prepared for presentation at the Park Board meeting on Jan 11th, which was subsequently cancelled.  There are over 75 signatures to this letter which was submitted for publication by Moira Murphy.
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To: Longmeadow’s Park Commission Board
From: Moira Murphy and Other Signatories
Date: January 11, 2016

Opposition to the Use of Wolf Swamp Fields for a DPW Site

As you know, a DPW Task Force had been evaluating alternate sites for a new DPW facility. It is my understanding that this committee has now been disbanded by recent vote of the Select Board, and a new committee will be formed consisting of 9 members plus Town Manager Stephen Crane, as an ex-officio non-voting member. The new committee will operate as a subcommittee reporting directly to the Select Board.

Wolf Swamp Road Field- Longmeadow Parks-Rec Dept Lacrosse Jamboree

We don’t yet know how the new DPW commission will proceed, and whether it will choose to revisit the analyses and recommendations of the prior Task Force. However, it was very concerning to me and many other residents (a number of whom are signatories to this letter) that this prior committee had identified the Wolf Swamp recreational fields as its preferred site for the new DPW facility. I would therefore like to formally express our strong opposition to this proposal, and call the Commission’s attention to the following points, some of which have already been mentioned by John Glenn:

The proposed facility will be industrial in nature, as it will house more than 30 trucks and other heavy equipment, salt sheds, fuels tanks and pumps, and multiple storage bins for bulk materials. It would be located immediately adjacent to our athletic fields and would be totally incompatible with what is otherwise a beautiful “green” area of Town.

The proposal would involve the taking of up to 25% of the field space, which is currently designated for recreational use. As you know, recreational space within town is already inadequate.

The proposal also involves the loss of at least 2 of the 5 softball/ baseball fields.

The proposal provides for a “potential expansion area” to replace the 25% loss of field space. However, the expansion area has a number of disadvantages:
  • The expansion area is smaller than the lost area.
  • The expansion area would necessitate the clear-cutting of a treed area, which may violate State and/or Town Conservation Regulations.
  • Based on the presentation shown at Town Meeting, the expansion area would come within 50 feet of wetland areas – and again may be in violation of State and Town Wetland Regulations.
  • The proposed expansion area is shaped like a “U” – and once fencing and sidelines are factored in, much, if not all, of this space is unusable. If additional wetlands buffering is required, the problem is even worse.
  • Finally, the expansion area would be located at the farthest point from parking, about .2 miles away from the main lot.
If the net useable field space were, in fact, reduced, this would have a significant effect on whether the Wolf Swamp fields can accommodate tournaments.Trucks and heavy equipment will be coming and going during the day. It is unclear whether this will present any safety issues after school or during the summer when the
fields are in heavy use.

The existence and availability of parks and recreational areas is clearly a priority for Town residents, this Commission, and the State. Various Massachusetts Regulations and pending bills exist to explicitly govern the change in use of open lands - and protect, preserve and enhance these areas. I also note that the mission of this Commission is dedicated to “developing and maintaining beautiful, safe, and environmentally friendly
open spaces for the public to use and enjoy.”

In closing, the DPW proposal is clearly inconsistent with the mission of the Town’s Park Commission, and the State Laws and Regulations governing parkland, conservation areas, and wetlands. The DPW facility’s presence will be incompatible with the otherwise park-like surroundings of the area and, most importantly, it will likely result in a significant reduction in the amount of recreational area available to our children and
residents.

We hope you will join us in opposing the Wolf Swamp site proposal.

Thank you,

3 comments:

Anita Hoag said...

What's written in this letter is so logical and well thought out. Mr. Crane needs to see that using the Wolf Swamp Fields for a DPW site is not logical. The town needs to find another site.

Larry Krainson said...

Why can't the town completely redo the site they are using now?

Jim Moran, LongmeadowBiz said...

Larry,

Below is a link to the LCTV video replay of the Public Forum that took place on Wednesday, January 20 in which Town Manager Crane explains why the current DPW site is not a viable option.

https://youtu.be/68XG_f2uG5Q