Deerfield hosting public forum on Leary Lot project

By CHRIS LARABEE

Staff Writer

Published: 06-07-2023 3:20 PM

SOUTH DEERFIELD — As town officials prepare the fine details of the Leary Lot project, they are seeking residents’ and business owners’ thoughts on the project through a public forum.

The forum is scheduled for Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. and will feature a presentation from town officials and Berkshire Design Group engineer Jeffrey Squire, as well as a question-and-answer session. People can either listen in at Town Hall or tune in virtually via Zoom. A Zoom link will be available on the town website at bit.ly/3N0K9Qq.

“We want to hear from property owners, tenants and the business community, and get their feedback,” Assistant Town Administrator Chris Nolan said.

The Leary Lot is the small asphalt and dirt parking lot behind Ciesluk’s Market at 59 Main St. The parking area, however, only covers a portion of the property, which extends west toward Hamshaw Lumber and Berkshire Brewing Co. The town is in the final stages of negotiating a land swap with Hamshaw for an empty parcel next to the business, which would create a contiguous piece of land from North Main Street that wraps around the Elm Street businesses and would allow the town to create more access for parking. The lot will also feature electric vehicle charging stations.

Nolan said the project’s goal is to create a more connected downtown with additional parking, which will help the neighborhood’s businesses. He noted the lot is in close proximity to the downtown businesses, as well as Yankee Candle and Tree House Brewing Co.

“We want to beautify the property,” Nolan said, adding that the town is planning “an attractive place that people can use as home base when they visit South Deerfield.”

The Select Board previously allocated $495,954 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money toward the project. The project also ties into the town’s South Deerfield revitalization and campus project, which aims to increase the walkability, accessibility and connectivity for all residents by creating a campus based around the common, Tilton Library, Town Hall and South County Senior Center.

Nolan encouraged residents to bring whatever questions they have about the project to Thursday’s forum.

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081.]]>

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