Thursday, May 4, 2017
Town Resident Supports New DPW Facility
This "Letter to the Editor" was submitted by town resident Douglas P. Sarnelli in Support of a New Department of Public Works Facility for the Town of Longmeadow
As a concerned resident of Longmeadow I am writing to urge all residents to attend our town meeting on Tuesday May 9th and to support the decision made by the Public Works Committee to relocate the Longmeadow Department of Public Works Facility from Pond Side Drive to that of site known as the Grande Meadows Tennis Club property located at 170 Dwight Road.
In January 2016, Town Manager Stephen Crane convened a Public Works Committee to confirm the need for a new Department of Public Works Facility, to determine the appropriate site for such a facility and to approve a facility design based on the current and future needs of our town.
The Public Works Committee is comprised of nine Longmeadow town residents from many professions who volunteer their time and talent. They have vested interests as residents and taxpaying members of our community. Under the superintendence of Committee Chair Christopher Cove and Co-Chair Arlene Miller, the Committee carefully analyzed well over two hundred possible sites as well as all financial, social, environmental, legal and all other practical considerations necessary for making a sound recommendation to the town. While I am not a member of the Committee, I have attended every Public’s Works Committee meeting for the past fifteen months and I have had the opportunity to observe the committee administer its civic responsibilities with the requisite professionalism, integrity and due diligence.
The Committee, in its many months of deliberations has deemed that the current public works facility is obsolete, incapable of adequately serving the needs of our community and unable to provide a sustainable work environment for its employees. The facility is located on an old ash dump and in a floodplain. To construct a new facility at the current location on Pond Side Drive would be too costly as the facility and our equipment would be uninsurable, being in a floodplain. In the event of a natural disaster it would present great risk to the Department of Public Works employees and to town owned equipment just when public work’s services would be needed the most.
In an October 2016 town vote, our community spoke clearly, affirming the Committee’s decision that the site selected should not affect any residential neighborhoods, parklands or athletic fields or our precious “green space.”
The proposed facilities designed by Weston Sampson Engineers and the Committee is cost effective, will be energy efficient and conscious of our environmental concerns and most importantly will allow the Public Works employees to administer their duties and responsibilities in an efficient and effective manner in an environment that meets all current safety and regulatory requirements. The Committee’s budgetary considerations for this project have operated well within the appropriate margins in designing a modest facility to accommodate only our current operational needs and has demonstrated the necessary sensitivity to any tax increase to property owners. Our town’s Finance Committee supports these measures.
In closing, the Town of Longmeadow is very fortunate to have a body of dedicated, honorable and deeply concerned residents presiding over this Public Works Facility matter. I wish to personally thank the committee for its commitment to our town and for the hundreds of hours spent away from family and professional and personal interests. The Public Works Committee has earned the trust and confidence of our town. All residents should support the committee’s decision to relocate the Department of Public Works Facility from Pond Side Drive to that of the Grande Meadows site on 170 Dwight Road.
Douglas P. Sarnelli, Longmeadow, Massachusetts