City seeks to assemble airport land

WESTFIELD – Mayor Daniel M. Knapik sent an Order of Taking of Real Estate to the City Council last night seeking to take additional land needed to assemble property for development of the Airport Industrial Park.
Knapik is requesting that the City Council approve taking land through eminent domain “for the purpose of enlargement, improvement and protection of Westfield Barns Regional Airport.”
City Advance Officer Jeff Daley, who also serves as the executive director of the Westfield Redevelopment Authority which is overseeing the development of an 80-acre industrial park along Airport Industrial Road, said part of the predevelopment phase has been to conduct deed research to ensure that the city legally holds title to the property of the proposed industrial park.
“During the discovery process we found that when all of that land was purchased by the FAA (Fede4ral Aviation Administration) there was a six-acre parcel right plunk in the middle of the city land that was not purchased,” Daley said. “Those six acres are landlocked by city owned property and there are some smaller rights of way we have to purchase.”
Daley said that when those parcels are assembled the industrial park project will begin to move forward and at faster pace of development.
Industrial Park Road was recently reconstructed through a $2 million state economic development grant, with city infrastructure, to support the proposed industrial park, installed as part of the road improvement work.
The rebuilt road divides the land of the proposed industrial park, with about 40 acres on each side of the roadway.
Daley said that half of the west parcel, 20 acres, will have direct access to the airport and that the goal is to develop aviation-related industry on that property. The property east of Airport Industrial Road will be marketed for general commercial usage.
“We’re trying to hold onto that land for aviation-related purposes,” Daley said earlier this year. “The goal is to have the entire 80 acres permitted, then as we get through the engineering phase, develop the east side. We’ll start a pretty aggressive marketing campaign as soon as the environmental and engineering efforts are complete.”
The City Council voted to refer the eminent domain request to its Legislative & Ordinance Committee for further review and to make a recommendation to the full City Council.

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