WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Westfield residents voiced there concerns during a public hearing Tuesday night, as the city considers building a Target Distribution Center near Barnes Air National Guard base.
The Target Corporation owns the land where the center would be built along North Road, Falcon Drive, and Southampton Road. The facility would be about 525,000 square feet.
William Onyski, President of the Westfield City Council, said, “It would bring in new business, there’s jobs that come to the city and additional taxes, but at what cost? Alternatively, I don’t feel that this is appropriate.”
Guy D’Angelo lives on North Road, and remembers when previous distribution centers were located at the same site across from his home. He told 22News, “I have pictures of those trucks up and down the road lining up just to get in…. I would wake up in the morning with a house full of diesel fuel.”
If the Target Distribution Center were approved, it would add 200 tractor-trailer trips and 1,000 employee vehicle trips daily to the area. Some residents are worried that instead of the Mass Pike, trucks would instead use Homestead Avenue, which leads to Holyoke to get onto I-91.
Gurlander Thaliwal, of the Holyoke Planning Board, noted the facility’s location would raise traffic concerns. “There’s a sign on Homestead Avenue, ‘no truck from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.’ But when the trucks take a right on Homestead from 202, they don’t read the time they just see the sign and so they pull into my parking lot.”
Another talking point made during Tuesday’s public hearing, the environmental impacts on the Barnes Aquifer and Hampton Ponds. Susan McFarlin, Hampton Ponds President said, “Traffic will contribute immensely to water pollution to road pollution and to an inherently already overburdened road system.”
Westfield’s Planning board chair William Carellas said the board has 90 days to make an official vote on whether or not to approve the special permits to build the facility.