Hadley Select Board approves arcade, restaurant and bar
HADLEY — Railroad Street will be home to a new arcade, restaurant and bar, but the venue will not offer live entertainment as originally planned.
The establishment, which will be called The Quarters, drew strong feedback from both supporters and opponents at a Select Board hearing last week. Despite the vehement opposition of some neighbors, the Select Board voted 4-1 to approve The Quarters’ applications for licenses to serve liquor and food and to have arcade games.
“Once we grant somebody a license, we can call them back in here next week if we don’t like the way the business is being run,” Select Board member Brian C. West said. “If it’s going to create a hazard to the neighborhood, we’ll take it away.”
West said that he is not very concerned about problems from The Quarters because it is more of an arcade than a bar and will not attract crowds of young people looking to get drunk.
“It might turn out to be a great business to have, right here in the middle of our community on Railroad Street.”
The Quarters will open at 8 Railroad St. beside the Norwottuck Rail Trail in the building that used to house Sofia’s Praises, a Polish restaurant. The only current tenant is Blueprint Gallery, a gallery and tattoo parlor that will remain in the building.
The “barcade” will offer vintage arcade games, classic American food like corn dogs and a full bar. The original plan included live entertainment, but in response to complaints about the potential noise level and fears that the venue would attract crowds above its capacity, the founders, Greg Stutsman and George Myers, withdraw their application for live entertainment. The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. everyday.
The hearing, which was continued from Feb. 20, was crowded with many of the same residents who showed up for the initial hearing. Opponents emphasized that they believed that the restaurant would cause too much noise and traffic for the area, which they described has having a long history as a quiet residential area, and raised concerns about drunken patrons.
“There are a couple of areas that are very concerning,” said Georgia Loconsolo of 32 West St. She cited the late closing time and the fact that the restaurant will have a full liquor license rather than a beer and wine license. “So many of the neighbors are not happy about this, and I really feel very strongly that the neighbors should be listened to.”
Other residents spoke in favor of the venue, saying that there is little to do in the area and it would attract arcade game enthusiasts from across New England.
“I grew up in Hadley so I know about its quietness and its serenity,” Suzie Costigan said. She said that the traffic on Route 9 is far louder than the noise she expects to hear from The Quarters. “I want to walk my nephew after school to go play an arcade game. There’s nothing that we can do here. This actually is adding to the family and community.”
The only Select Board member to oppose the licenses was Daniel J. Dudkiewicz, who cited many of the same concerns residents of the area had raised, including noise, traffic and parking problems.
The Feb. 20 Select Board hearing was continued because some residents said they had not received proper notice of a prior Planning Board meeting. At the Wednesday meeting more neighbors came forward to complain that they had not received notice. Stutsman confirmed that issue was resolved and proper notice had been given.
A second business seeking a permit at the meeting was approved without opposition and with little discussion.
Spruce Hill Motors is a used car dealership that will be opened by Randall E. Izer at 235 Russell St.
Izer said he expects the majority of the sales to take place online.