SOUTHWICK – The Town of Southwick will hold a public informational session on September 26 at 6 p.m. in the Southwick Town Hall to discuss the renaming of streets in town.
There are six streets in Southwick that that are scheduled to be changed: Evergreen Street, Evergreen Terrace, Hillcrest Avenue, Two States Avenue, Island Pond Way, and Southwick Hill. Besides Evergreen Terrace and Evergreen Street, there is also an Evergreen Avenue. Southwick Hill and Hill Crest are very similar as well. Island Pond Way will need to be changed due to some of the numbers of the homes coinciding with Island Pond Road. As a result, the six homes on Island Pond Way will become a part of Island Pond Road.
The reason for the changing of these street names is because of the Next Generation 911 System that Southwick Dispatch uses for all emergency calls throughout the community. When there is an emergency, the system has a map that immediately locates where the emergency is taking place. Although the system reads the location, the duplication of streets, roads, and avenues can present confusion to first responders when responding to a call.
The information session on September 26 will be open to the public and will give the residents of those streets, and the rest of the community, a chance to hear more about the project and give their thoughts and opinions.
Southwick Police Sgt. Kirk Sanders hopes the public will see the benefit the renaming of these six streets.
“It truly makes sense,” said Sanders. “It’s a safety issue.
This past November, that exact issue occurred when Westfield paramedics were on their way to respond to an emergency on Evergreen, but was unsure if the address was on Evergreen Street, Evergreen Avenue, or Evergreen Terrace. Southwick EMT’s were then able to get to the call and take care of the situation. It’s a prime example that Sanders believes could have ended much differently.
“But in the end, it could have really been an issue,” Sanders told the Westfield News last November.
Following the informational session, the Select Board is required to hold a legal hearing in order to officially changes the names of the streets under town code. Town counsel will be in attendance to help the Select Board with all of the legal aspects.
The new names of the streets will not be announced at that time as Sanders is allowing the residents of those streets to have a say on what the new names should be.