Councilor Figy: Ward 2 update

I hope the all the mothers out there enjoyed their day last Sunday. The weather really cooperated as it was truly spectacular. I was very fortunate to be able to celebrate another Mother’s Day with my mother whom turned 87 this past March.
Ward 2 continues to be the epicenter of activity in the great city of Westfield. Construction and improvements are continuing in Ward 3 as well. The Gas Light District Project is well underway again. This is a long overdue upgrade for this historical district. I am sure that the pains of construction will be worth it in the end.
The new senior center continues on schedule and on budget. The sheet rock is up and painting is commencing. Completion is still scheduled for sometime before the snow flies. The Friends group is continuing to raise funds for the furnishing of the interior. If you would like to make a donation, please call the Senior Center for more information. Bill Tatro and his group are doing a great job.
Construction on the old Red Cross building should begin in the near future. Discussions with the state continue to frustrate everyone involved in this project. Perseverance is the word as Westfield will restore a historical building in the downtown core area.
Get ready for more construction on Elm Street. The long awaited redesigned of the Notre Dame Intersection will begin in the near future. We all know and despise the giant puddle that forms in the intersection when we have a heavy rain. This will be eliminated with this project. Runoff will no longer go directly into the brook, but will go into retention facilities before discharge. A turn lane will also be constructed to help traffic move more steadily. As with any improvement project, the pain will be felt before the benefits will be realized. So please be patient when this project is underway.
The gazebo is nearing completion. The seniors at Westfield Vocational Technical High School have been joined by the junior classmates. The senior’s in the Construction Technology Program have been successfully place into coop jobs severely limiting the man power on the construction site. The juniors have received additional safety training that now allows them to participate. This has kept the project on schedule to be completed by the end of this school year. This is a culmination of three years of work and planning. A job well done. Thanks to all involved.
The city council faces a decision this coming Thursday at its meeting. On the agenda is an item to transfer care and custody of property located on Ponders Hollow Road from the Fire Department to the Parks and Recreation Department. The Fire Department has had control of this property for over 20 years. They had envisioned building a training facility on it. Due to a number of reasons this dream never materialized and the property lay dormant and has been declared that this parcel is no longer needed and is now surplus. The city now would like to consider developing this property into a neighborhood park to provide recreational activities to the citizens of ward 2 and to the citizens of Westfield. It is in a great location to access the bike trail and to access the Westfield River for canoeing or kayaking. It is truly my hope that my peers see this as an opportunity to improve the lives of Ward 2 citizens and focus on the matter at hand.
Budget season is upon us. The Superintendent presented the schools budget last week. It is $1.9 million short. If the model school had opened as scheduled, the School Department would be able to present a 2015-16 school budget with a deficient of only $500,000. The taxpayers of Westfield continue to pay the price for the delays to this project. Has this been a picture perfect process? The answer is no. However, the process allows for mistakes and there is a process to follow to correct a mistake if one should occur. A mistake was made in the application process and it has been rectified to the satisfaction of the federal government. So let’s move forward and stop wasting Westfield’s taxpayer’s time and money. Let us never forget the students are the heart of the matter.
Graduation season is here as well. I would like to congratulations all of the members of the class of 2015. Well done and good luck with your future endeavors. It is my hope that you continue to make smart decisions in your future.
On June 12, the Amelia Park Ice Arena will be hosting a Wine and Beer Tasting in the garden. Tickets are available at the rink or from any board member. This event is to kick off the capital campaign. The arena is valuable asset to our community and has some very serious upgrades and replacements that need to take place in the next few years. The Ice Arena is a nonprofit rink that host many different hockey groups as well as many nonprofit groups also use the rink as their meeting area. The board rooms are filled almost every day with some organization. This summer on Tuesday nights Musical Moments take place in the garden and this is free to all. Bring a chair and enjoy the evening.
I would like to invite the residents of Ward 2 to my campaign kickoff. It will be held at the Son’s of Erin on Wednesday, May 20, beginning at 5:30. Bring the family down and enjoy a picnic. I look forward to serving the great residents of Ward 2 for another two years. I would like to thank you for your support.
Ralph J. Figy
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not the staff, editor, or publisher of this publication.

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