Mayor Knapik seeks resident dialogue


WESTFIELD – Mayor Daniel M. Knapik will host a series of ward informational meetings as he and department supervisors begin the process building the city’s 2014 fiscal year budget.
Knapik said that he is seeking resident input and an opportunity to discuss a broad range of issues relative to the executive branch.
“These are meetings I’ve do every spring since I’ve been in office as I get ready for the budget (process),” Knapik said. “I ask people for input, what they think we ought to be doing.”
Knapik said the concerns and ideas raised during the six public informational “State of the City” Ward meetings, slated from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at locations across the city, do influence budget priories.
The first meeting for Wards 2 and 3 is slated for tomorrow in the Lang Auditorium of the Westfield Athenaeum; the Ward 4 session will be held on Monday, March 11 at the Highland Avenue Elementary School; the Ward 1 meeting is slated for Tuesday, March 19 at the Southampton Road Elementary School; the Ward 5 will be conducted on Monday, March 25 at the Munger Hill Elementary School; while the Ward 6 is scheduled for Tuesday, March 26 at the Paper Mill Elementary School.
“This is residents opportunity to get information directly from city officials,” Knapik said. “There is often a lot of misinformation out there, so I’ve asked a number of city officers to attend the sessions to update residents on projects and there are projects in every ward.”
Knapik said that he has requested City Engineer Mark Cressotti, City Advancement Officer Jeff Daley, Community Development Director Peter J. Miller Jr., and the city’s Community Development Block Grant Coordinator, Diana McLean.
“There are projects planned or underway in every ward,” Knapik said.
Many of those projects involve the Engineering Department, such as the Gaslight District infrastructure reconstruction in Ward 3 between Elm Street on the east and Washington Street on the west, between Franklin Street on the north and Court Street on the south; the Old Towne projects improving roads, sidewalks and facilities in streets along Main Street and East Silver Streets; the reconstruction of Arch Road, scheduled for this summer and the Pochassic Street bridge (also called the Drug Store Hill Bridge), already in progress, both of which are in Ward 1; the reconstruction of Western Avenue, which spans both Wards 3 and 4. Construction of the next section of the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail, through sections of Wards 5 and 2 is also slated to begin this spring.
Daley and Miller will be available to answer questions about economic development projects, ranging from Elm Street redevelopment, which is composed of three elements: a 130,000 square-foot, six story mixed use commercial building, a 2,000 square-foot transportation component and a five-story, 500-vehicle parking garage in Ward 3; the reconstruction of Airport Industrial Road and creation of the 80-acre Airport Industrial Park along the road now under construction in Ward 1; development plans for the Turnpike Road Industrial Park located between Cabot Road and the Massachusetts Turnpike.
CDBG funding is used to support a number of the economic development projects, as well as providing funding for many of the social service agencies in the city.
“Public participation is encouraged at all meetings,” Knapik said. “If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Mayor’s Office at 572-6201.”

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