LONGMEADOW, MA – Eversource has been granted approval to build a new, above-ground transformer at the corner of Longmeadow Street and Edgewood Road. The new equipment is being installed to meet an increased demand for electrical service at the shopping plaza, located at 398 Longmeadow St.
Alex’s Bagel Shop is moving into the plaza, which already houses CVS Pharmacy, Rinaldi’s restaurant, and Longmeadow Package Store. The bagel shop is renovating space that formerly housed Kate Gray Boutique.
“In the process of fitting out the space, it was discovered that the building did not have adequate electricity to handle the new equipment being installed to run the bagel shop,” said Town Manager Stephen Crane. “We learned from Eversource that the underground transformer and manhole is at capacity and cannot be expanded to increase the power the way it needs to be increased. That transformer is the direct source of power for that plaza.”
Representatives from Eversource attended two recent Select Board meetings to discuss the plans and explain why it is not financially feasible to install a larger transformer underground. Edgar Alejandro, from Eversource, indicated that it would likely cost more than $100,000 to install the services underground.
Instead, Eversource plans to build the above-ground transformer on a concrete pad in the tree belt near the corner of Longmeadow Street and Edgewood Road. To accomplish this installation, Eversource will need to dig a trench across Longmeadow Street. However, the town implements a road work moratorium that typically begins Nov. 15. Thus, Eversource needs special permission from the Select Board to allow them to tackle the project before the moratorium is lifted in the spring.
“We looked at this project from many different angles,” Alejandro said. “We’ve met with the DPW, the property owner and his contractor. We think the plan we have makes the most sense and is the most cost-effective. We are now facing time constraints and are looking for some guidance and the necessary approvals so we can accommodate the business growth and get this done sooner rather than later.”
Robert Rinaldi, who owns the plaza, said they were all surprised by the need for more electrical power on the property.
“Alex is really trying to get going in there, so we appreciate the Select Board looking at this as something that is really needed,” Rinaldi said.
That request was ultimately approved by the Select Board by a 3-1 vote at a special meeting held Nov. 13. Select Board member Mark Gold voted against the request. Select Board member Marie Angelides was not present for the meeting.
Eversource representatives have said they are willing to paint the transformer black, plant landscaping around it, and install wooden fencing to help hide it from view.
– Article by Sarah Leete Tsitso