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Select Board Roundup: Resident Honored, DPW Bid Awarded, Greenwood Center Options Discussed

LONGMEADOW, MA – Aidan Bone received a commendation from the Select Board during its May 7 meeting, recognizing his heroic actions to help a fellow resident in distress.

While out walking his dog on Lynwood Avenue on Feb. 14, Bone discovered a neighbor had fallen and was in need of medical care in dark and freezing conditions, said Fire Chief John Dearborn, who recommended the citizen’s commendation. Bone responded by contacting emergency services and stayed on the scene to help police locate the neighbor in distress.

“On this evening, Mr. Bone’s actions contributed to a positive outcome for this neighbor,” Dearborn said. “His actions exemplify the meaning of being a good neighbor and citizen of our community.”

While presenting Bone with the citation, he added, “You made a big difference in that person’s life.”

Later in the meeting, Town Manager Stephen Crane reported to the board that the construction bid for the Department of Public Works complex would be awarded to WJ Mountford of South Windsor, CT. The firm submitted a bid of $12.7 million, including the base project and three alternates, well below the town’s estimated costs of $14.5 million.

“Their bid was significantly lower than the cost estimate, which has been great news,” Crane said, adding the project manager had done “a great deal of due diligence” in order to ensure the company did not underestimate the scale of the project. “This is a standard thing. If a bid seems so much different than the other bids that are more consistent, sometimes a mistake has been made, or they missed something … You don’t want the contractor to go bankrupt in the middle of the job or award it and then you’re looking at performance bonds and the work stops and all this other stuff.”

Crane did caution that there were variables related to demolition that could increase the project’s final costs, but lauded several departments and town personnel, as well as the project manager, for getting the project out to bid at a favorable time, which contributed to the strong bid.

He added a meeting with the contractor to discuss timeline and a groundbreaking would take place in the near future.

Crane also noted the base bid for the intersection improvements for the Dwight Road corridor – including bike lanes, sidewalks, and traffic signals, came in at $2 million. At Town Meeting last year, residents approved a $2.5 million bond authorization based on the town’s estimates for the project.

“So again, a lot of people being focused and working together and hitting the market at the right time allowed us to come in under budget,” he said, adding the town would be able to look at sidewalk connections down Williams Street from Benton Drive to Deepwoods Drive, and down Dwight Road to Churchill Drive.

Crane also presented the board with potential options for the Greenwood Center in the event that a new Adult Center is ever constructed.

“The basic takeaway is that the Parks and Rec. Department would be consolidated into the Greenwood Center,” Crane explained. “The Greenwood Center is really a Parks and Rec. building in which the Adult Center is a subtenant. The layout of the building is such that the Rec. Department could not necessarily expand services, but we could space the services they offer at the Children’s Center out a little better, take the administrative functions from the community house [and] move them over there, and then offer expanded services that would be revenue-generating.”

Among those new revenue-generating services could be a studio for taking passport photos, he added. He also noted there are currently waiting lists for certain programs that could be addressed through the addition of classrooms, but that aspect would require “a little more research.”

The Select Board was provided with a memo from Director of Parks and Recreation Bari Jarvis that went into more specifics on the potential uses for the portion of the building that would be vacated by the Adult Center. She estimated revenues from a passport photo studio could be between $5,000 and $9,000, while additional programming could produce another $5,000 to $9,000 in revenue.

Other benefits included the ability to separate infants and toddlers into separate rooms, the division of four-year-old room into two rooms for first- and second-year students, more room for afterschool programming, space for training and staff enrichment, a new art room, a game room, and a kitchen and dining area that would not only provide a place for lunch and snacks for children, but also space for cooking and nutrition classes.

Jarvis also noted rooms could be rented for day use.

Crane commended Jarvis for looking at the reuse concept in “a holistic way,” admitting finding cost-effective uses for the building as office space was something he struggled with.

– By Chris Maza