But don’t get your hopes up. They’re still going to leave all the derelict buildings on the site. The city may eventually get the right to acquire those buildings and 1.8 acres of land on Locust Street from the State, but I am betting it will be a while before the fences and the derelict buildings come down. It’ll be an expensive affair. The State marches to its own drummer, who works in slow motion.
This week (May 23rd) two representatives of the State Department of Transportation (DOT) appeared before the Northampton conservation commission and filed a notice of intent to discontinue its landfill in the backyard of what used to be a state DOT garage. It was the third time the State has come before the Conscom with this project and the group had very few questions for the engineers. The project was originally approved by the State DOT in November of 2013.
The land is just west of the DPW complex on Locust Street. All you can see from the road is a parking lot, fences and an old brick building. The parking lot is a great spot for police lying in wait for speeders. The oldest part of the old garage used to be a power plant that supplied electricity to our trolley system. The land was then acquired by the State well before Rte. 91 was built, and was used to store its trucks and snow-fighting supplies and equipment. Brougham brook, which rises in the forested land to the north and west, comes into the area through a culvert under the bike trail, and leaves the area, dirty and disgusted, through another culvert under Locust Street. Over the years the land has gotten swampy and wetlands have grown from all State dumping of street sweepings, asphalt, and dirt. I think abettors’ have protested. Behind the large garage are three semi-derelict buildings full of what-have-you.
When I was back there many years ago writing an article on Brougham brook the landfill was filled with steel pipe, and there was a large dome shaped building filled with what looked like a big pile of salt, stockpiled for a winter that came and went. The State of Massachusetts has a lousy track record. Belchertown State School, Northampton State Hospital, the list is long of abandoned developments. Somehow they never clean up behind themselves.