Senator Lesser Cheers Long-Awaited Redevelopment of Former Belchertown State School Site
Scale and potential of project makes it one of the most “transformative and exciting developments happening in all of Western Massachusetts” says Lesser
BELCHERTOWN — Senator Eric P. Lesser welcomed the announcement by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito on Thursday that the state is investing $10 million to redevelop the former Belchertown State School site.
The project is a partnership between the town of Belchertown and MassDevelopment, the state’s economic development agency.
“This project represents a giant step forward for Belchertown, as the state works with local officials to redevelop the vacant Belchertown State School site. This new construction will provide local job opportunities, expand residential housing options, and ultimately find a purpose for 25 acres of land that can be put to good use,” Sen. Lesser said.
The grant will construct a 2,000-foot road and associated utilities, providing access to 25 acres of land and improving the marketability of 12 more acres.
The MassWorks infrastructure program will leverage $10 million in state capital authorization and enable construction of up to 268 new residential units, in addition to providing sewer service for two commercial parcels, including the Belchertown Day School.
“The scale and potential for the Belchertown State School property makes this project among the most transformative and exciting developments happening in all of Western Massachusetts,” Sen. Lesser said.
The Belchertown State School was established in 1922 as an institution for those with mental illnesses and intellectual disabilities, but horrific conditions there helped spur an overhaul of mental healthcare facilities across the state. The Belchertown State School was closed in 1992 and the campus has remained vacant ever since.
The campus includes dozens of buildings, some of which cannot be repaired and others which have solid foundations for future repurposing.