WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) – The Elm Street Urban Renewal Plan is firmly in action, after the Westfield Redevelopment Authority (WRA) sought eminent domain on several properties.
The WRA voted unanimously to use eminent domain powers on properties on Church Street and Elm Street this morning, thus moving forward with the renewal plan that has been in place since 2013. The move has been backed by the city council previously, who OKed the use of $509,000 to fund the acquisition of the properties in question.
The properties at 0 Church St., 11 to 13 Church St., 56 to 58 Elm St. and 64 to 66 Elm St. were the properties affected by the eminent domain. The property owners now have up to 120 days to dispute the process, though the properties are currently all unoccupied and according to the WRA, the current owners would have lesser legal precedent to appeal the acquisition due to their lack of occupancy.
The WRA will be compensating each property owner for the acquisitions, with a value based on an appraisal by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development. If the property owner disagrees with the value, they can also challenge this legally.
The current values given by the WRA are as follows: For 0 Church St., $6,230; 11 to 13 Church St., $220,000; 56 to 58 and 64 to 66 Elm St., $160,000.
If the acquisitions are successful, the demolition of the properties are expected to occur in April or May of this year. The demolitions will make way for a multi-level parking garage, as well as a mixed-use business and commercial building.