NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – An online petition is calling for a stop to construction of a roundabout at a Native American site in Northampton.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has plans to construct a roundabout at the intersection of Hatfield and North King Streets in Northampton. The same area that contains artifacts verified to be 10,000-years-old.
Now, an online petition, which has more signatures than Northampton’s population, is out to stop the project which is set to begin July 1. More than 500 Native American artifacts were found last fall during an archaeological dig.
Bill LaChance owns Mark’s Motors. It’s a business right next to the project site and even though he said its a problematic intersection, it’s not one that should have a roundabout, especially if it’s going to disturb Native American land.
“I’ve been here 42 years, 38-years-ago I suggested changing it to a T intersection, but now the city likes a roundabout. I just don’t see a necessity for that,” said LaChance.
The $3.8 million roundabout plan has been an on-again, off-again project. Over the winter, the project was de-funded but has recently been refunded thanks to federal stimulus funds. Dr. Richard Gramly is an archaeologist who believes the area should be a national historic site and is one of the most significant archaeological sites in America during that time period.
Dr. Gramly told 22News, “We should preserve it. This site is at a time period when the earliest lifestyle, the pursuit of animals that are now extinct or exculpated. This site is at the beginning of that new lifestyle.”
According to Dr. Gramly, only 20-25 percent of the known site was excavated. 75-80 percent still remains uncovered.
We have reached out to the City of Northampton for comment, but we have not heard back.