Greenfield City Council approves borrowing $1.18M for Main Street redesign, sewer repairs

Main Street in Greenfield.

Main Street in Greenfield. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ


Staff Writer

Published: 04-18-2024 4:02 PM

Modified: 04-18-2024 5:54 PM

GREENFIELD — City Council approved a combined $1.18 million in borrowing for the Main Street redesign project and for significant sewer system repairs aimed to bring the city in compliance with a state Department of Environmental Protection consent order.

Borrowing for both the $680,000 Main Street reconstruction engineering and design work and $500,000 toward the repair and replacement of sewage lines to mitigate infiltration and inflow problems passed unanimously at Wednesday night’s meeting.

Main Street redesign

Slated to begin in 2029, the Main Street redesign project, which will include repaving and reconfiguring a portion of Main Street from Colrain Street to High Street, is estimated to cost more than $13 million.

At-Large Councilor John Garrett said the redesign is a project through the Complete Streets Funding Program that will include the expansion of sidewalks and bike lanes, as well as the creation and reconfiguration of parking spaces. He said the project will focus on roadway safety for all users.

The city has completed approximately 25% of its design and is working on its Road Safety Audit, the results of which will be sent to the Department of Transportation and returned with feedback. Department of Public Works Director Marlo Warner II said MassDOT will likely hold a public hearing on the project in the late summer or early fall after the city works to submit its final design.

“This appropriation is just to keep us going on the design process. If we put it off, then it puts off the project year after year after year and the cost increases” Warner explained. “The project started out at a $5 million project two years ago and after listening to the public, making adjustments, making standard changes to the intersections, it right now sits at $10.2 million projected and is projected to be $13.17 [million] by FY29.”

At-Large Councilor Wahab Minhas mentioned that parking will likely be a “contentious” issue for residents when the project’s final design goes before a public hearing. In response, Garrett noted that the city previously undertook a parking study for the project, the results of which, he said, will be helpful in answering the public’s parking-related questions.

Mayor Ginny Desorgher echoed Minhas’ remarks, noting that in a business listening session she hosted last month, the topic of Main Street parking took up about two-thirds of the local business owners’ discussions.

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“We’re all thinking about that in our communication” with the public, Desorgher said. “To change parking is a big issue.”

Sewer repairs

In addition to approving funding for the design and engineering of the Main Street project, City Council voted unanimously to borrow $500,000 to replace, monitor and re-sleeve the city’s 90 miles of sewer lines to comply with DEP’s consent order, which was issued in January 2020.

Aging pipes, many of which Warner said are 90 or 100 years old, lead to stormwater infiltration, which overwhelms the wastewater treatment plant. This results in untreated wastewater being released into the Green River during heavy rains or flooding events.

Warner said the city has been in compliance with the consent order requirements in its annual reports to the DEP. Still, he said the approximately $7 million infiltration and inflow project will remain a long and ongoing process. He said the DPW also is working to find ways to fix the wastewater treatment center’s regulator chamber, the safety valve that prevents wastewater from pouring out into the river.

“We’ve been putting out quite a few large contracts on pipe lining, so we’re being as proactive as we can. We’re kind of hitting the reset button to do some more evaluating flow testing, to see if we’re incurring other issues elsewhere, or it’s just the heavier rains in a short period of time that’s overwhelming the system. We’re kind of repairing and we’re reevaluating at the same time going forward,” Warner said. “If I had it my way, there would not be a drop that would be released from that regulator chamber, so we’re working very hard to eliminate that issue.”

In addition to city funding and borrowing, Warner added that the DPW will continue to seek grant opportunities to help fund the city’s sewer repair project.

Alongside the $1.18 million in borrowing appropriations for the Main Street project and sewer line repairs, City Council also approved budget transfers of $70,000 to purchase a 2024 Chevrolet Silverado; $40,000 for boiler demolition and asbestos removal at the Veterans Field House; $200,000 to the highway fund; borrowing $310,000 for the repair of the Mill Street Bridge; $197,000 for repair design services for the Electric Light and Power Dam; $65,000 to resurface the Legion Avenue parking lot; $135,000 for the purchase of a 2024 Ford F-550 truck; $150,000 to repave the DPW yard on Wells Street; $240,000 for the repair of capped landfill erosion; $50,000 to sandblast at Poet’s Seat Tower; $75,000 to repair the north tower elevator at Federal Street School; $195,000 to replace a backhoe; and $300,000 to replace a water main on Main Street.

Anthony Cammalleri can be reached at or 413-930-4429.