Letter: Don’t rush to approve Data Center without asking questions

I have some questions about the proposed Data Center in Westfield, and I’m concerned that this proposal will be pushed through with little scrutiny.

This is a 40-year partnership with a company that may never have built a data center before. We don’t know, because Servistar refused to answer that question. They also refused to tell the City Council the location of any other data centers they may have built.

The proposal is very one-sided, and all benefits go to the writers of the proposal.

Some people are saying to take the deal and don’t screw it up. I believe the city leaders have an obligation to investigate this further before any agreements are approved.

We are talking about 162 acres of Westfield property that these developers could make billions of dollars from. Since the proposal is based on fixed rates, we will be stuck with this deal for 40 years.

I’m not saying don’t do the development, I’m saying we need to look closer at this deal.

Here are a few more of my questions:

Where can I find the review/report from the Legal Department of the Servistar proposal?

Since the city does not have a city advancement officer, was this proposal reviewed by an outside consultant? If not, should it be?

Westfield is doing a feasibility study for a new police station. Is there a feasibility study for this project?

Westfield has one shot to make the best deal here. The developers, who have the most to gain here, tell us this is a good deal. Who has verified that?

There are many unanswered questions and liberties are being taken with the [Chapter] 121A agreement that needs to be clarified. Some may not even be legal. Not to mention trying to cut out our WG&E when there are franchisee agreements against that. That’s not OK.

This is a multi-billion-dollar, 40-year deal. The developers are heavily invested in this deal already.

We should not make a weak deal because we are afraid they will get mad and pull out.

I’m writing you as a taxpayer. The city is giving up a lot here, and getting minimal compensation.

They are going to cut down millions of trees and they have declined to replace them. These trees and everything that lives in them will be gone forever and replaced by 130 diesel-powered generators that will run every week.

This is not the nuclear waste dump that the developer projected. It is wetland and it is landlocked, but Westfield will be sacrificing natural resources and wildlife.

Resident Joshua Ouellette showed a three-minute video to the Planning Board that showed some of what will be gone forever. I’m sure I can get a copy if anyone would like. It’s eye-opening.

I’m a pro-business person. I think this is a great use of this land. I really think we are underestimating the value of what we are giving up, and also the tremendous amount of money that will be generated from this project. The city deserves to be part of that tremendous amount of money.

Jeff Bezos is not the richest man in the world because data centers are not profitable.

Let’s not rush this. It’s a 40-year deal worth billions.


John Bowen

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