WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Town of West Springfield is looking to take over diocesan land on Brush Hill Ave which abuts the Dominican Nuns Monastery.
The Catholic church is located at 1430 Riverdale Street and the empty land next to it on Brush Hill Ave has been in discussion between The Diocese of Springfield and the Town of West Springfield. The town wanted to acquire the land under eminent domain, which would allow them to take the property for public use.
West Springfield is looking to build a new Public Works Complex for first responders and public works employees. Springfield Bishop William Byrne said the diocese would not object to the initiative of the town taking over the land in hopes the plans for the development will protect the privacy of the Dominican Nuns and mitigate any noise from operations at that site.
In a statement released by Bishop William Byrne on November 6th, “I was pleased to meet with Mayor William Reichelt and general counsel Kate O’Brien Scott regarding the Brush Hill site and to learn that they shared my objective that every effort be undertaken to protect the privacy of the Dominican Nuns. These are women of great faith, who have committed their lives to prayer and life within their cloister, with very little contact with the outside world. They are a powerhouse of prayer, and their presence in West Springfield is a true blessing. I have spoken with the prioress, and she is most grateful for the consideration being given to her community in these ongoing discussions.”
In a letter to the West Springfield Town Council President, Edward Sullivan, Mayor Will Reichelt said he no longer believes the town should continue with the eminent domain taking of a Springfield Diocese property for a Public Works Complex.
In a statement sent to 22News, Mayor Will Reichelt said they would like to continue negotiations with the Diocese of Springfield, but for a different purpose. Reichelt says the search for a new Public Works Complex location will continue. The mayor also suggests that a committee should be made of councilors and city employees to help find space for the new public facility.
“After listening to feedback from both councilors and members of the community I do not believe we should continue with the eminent domain taking at this time. I would like the opportunity to continue negotiations for the land with the Diocese of Springfield but for a different purpose as well as continuing the search for a location for a new Public Works Complex. Additionally, I would like to create a committee made up of councilors, city employees, and interested members of the public to jointly examine available land in our town for the ideal location for new public facilities.
As I know you are aware, the physical infrastructure of many of our buildings that our first responders and public works employees use everyday to protect and support our community are in disrepair, especially compared to state of the art facilities in neighboring communities. Also, despite the construction of two new school buildings, our other buildings need attention to ensure we are provided the best possible environment for our next generation to learn and grow. We have many challenges ahead in terms of improving our city’s infrastructure but I believe we will jointly find a way forward that takes into consideration the needs of our staff to support the community as well as those of our residents and businesses who call West Springfield home.
Thank you for your assistance in engaging the community to allow all voices to be heard. I look forward to working with you as we seek a new location for both our DPW and Police. I know both our public works staff and police officers are excited for new homes and appreciate your support in eventually making that a reality.”A letter sent to Town COuncil Edward Sullivan from Mayor Reichelt