Hadley voters back razing Village Hall; approve DPWs spending

  • The North Hadley Village Hall, located at 239 River Drive, Hadley. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 19, 2019

HADLEY — Voters decided Tuesday to approve four spending articles, as well as a nonbinding question asking whether the town should demolish the North Hadley Village Hall.

The spending articles, which Town Meeting approved in May, were all for Department of Public Works projects and equipment totaling $265,000. They included $100,000 for cleaning and repairing ditches, $75,000 to buy a skid steer loader to handle drainage work, $60,000 to purchase a mini-excavator and $30,000 to get a hot box that holds hot asphalt to fill potholes.

The skid steer loader question passed by only one vote, 206 to 205, and voters approved the funding for the mini-excavator by only six votes, 208 to 202. For the hot box, 223 voted in favor and 188 against. The ditch cleaning and repair project passed with 261 yes votes and 151 no votes.

For an average single-family home valued at $324,000, all four spending articles together will add $16.46 per year to the tax bill.

Voters also voted “yes” on a nonbinding ballot question that asked: “Shall the Town of Hadley demolish the North Hadley Village Hall to provide additional greenspace for the existing ballfield?”

On that question, 251 residents voted “yes” and 156 voted “no.”

In 2014, Town Meeting approved the sale of the hall, which was built in 1864. However, town officials have learned that selling the property might not be possible because the adjacent ballfield is permanently protected land, meaning that a developer wouldn’t be able to use it for parking.

Tuesday’s non-binding question was meant to gauge whether town residents preferred to preserve the hall or the landscape, which abuts Lake Warner. Town officials have said Hadley can’t afford either long-term maintenance of the building or rehabilitation, which would likely cost some $3 million.

Dusty Christensen can be reached at dchristensen@gazettenet.com.