Sen. Eric Lesser and Rep. Thomas Petrolati File Joint Legislation Enabling Belchertown to Acquire State Land
Sen. Eric Lesser and Rep. Thomas Petrolati joined together to file legislation allowing the Town of Belchertown to purchase the former John Patrick Center group home building and surrounding land from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. “This property, with its strategic location, is highly valuable to Town of Belchertown and will be used to bring greater educational, recreational and other opportunities to the entire community,” Sen. Lesser said. “I’m glad to work with Rep. Petrolati to ensure the Town has the ability to purchase this land.”
“After my many years of working diligently to redevelop the Belchertown State School properties, I am proud to submit this legislation along with Sen. Lesser to acquire the land known as the John Patrick Center. This will once again bring further economic development to the Town of Belchertown,” Rep. Petrolati said.
The 5.4-acre state-owned parcel on Route 202 was scheduled for auction in December, but was halted after successful efforts by the Town’s administration.
The Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM), which administers surplus state property, indicated that it would sell the property to the Town if the land could be demonstrated as having "public use,” according to a Dec. 2 letter written by the Division’s deputy commissioner, Beth Rubenstein.
The Town held a special town meeting February 22, where members voted to authorize the Town to purchase or otherwise acquire the property.
However, the Town cannot move forward in the process without special legislation that enables the property to be sold for municipal, rather than private use. Sen. Lesser and Rep. Petrolati jointly filed a bill, An Act relative to Belchertown, to resolve this issue.
Town Administrator Gary Brougham indicated in a February 24 letter to DCAMM that the property would likely be used for “a mixed use recreational facility, future central office location for the Belchertown School department, an expansion of Swift River Elementary School, expanded parking…and a new town office building or library facility.”