CHICOPEE – The City Council has approved an order from Mayor Richard J. Kos for an appropriation of $840,000 for the demolition of the former Navy Housing property on James Street and its redevelopment as a solar field.
The City Council previously approved $160,000 in July that enabled environmental testing and demolition design work to begin. The two appropriations fund a match of a $1 million grant from the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency awarded through the Military Bond Bill approved by the state legislature in early 2014.
“This is a property that was purchased from the military with no plans of how to address its issues,” said Mayor Kos. “Working with Rep. Wagner and our state delegation we were able to secure a grant that helps finance the demolition of a site that has several issues associated with it.”
The City of Chicopee had previously acquired the 27 acres of unused military housing which has remained vacant for several years. The purchase of the site was initially explored in 2005 and acquired in 2011 by the City.
The clearing of this site will permit the City of Chicopee and Westover to pursue a cost-effective solar photovoltaic system to meet DOD, municipal, and state renewable energy goals. Once construction is complete, Chicopee Electric Light can reduce electricity costs to Westover Air Reserve Base.
“The purpose of the bond bill was to make our military institutions more sustainable and cost effective,” said Kos. “This appropriation and grant allows for both the City and Westover to benefit. This is a positive effort for Chicopee. I thank the Council for their support.”
The demolition is expected to go out to bid this fall. Any salvageable material will be made available to the military and authorized public/private nonprofit material recycling organizations.