Amherst council to vote on $1M for Hickory Ridge purchase, new treatment plant 

  • Amherst Town Hall FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 9/20/2019 2:12:19 PM

AMHERST — Nearly $1 million in spending for the town’s purchase of Hickory Ridge Golf Course and the costs of design and permitting for replacing a water treatment plant in Pelham will be the subject of a Town Council public hearing Monday.

The hearing at Town Hall will run from 6:30 to 6:50 p.m., with a vote to authorize the spending expected at the council’s Oct. 7 meeting.

The 149-acre golf course on West Pomeroy Lane would be acquired for $520,000 from Appliedgolf of Millstone, New Jersey, and be used for conservation and nature trails, as well as a solar energy project the current owner is developing. Town Manager Paul Bockelman recently entered into a buy-sell agreement for the property.

The plan is to use $306,000 from the stabilization account to supplement $200,000 from the Community Preservation Act account. Additional money would come from money set aside for other land deals.

For the Centennial Water Treatment Plant in Pelham, $692,000 is needed for design and permitting for what would be an $11 million project. The Finance Committee has already recommended spending this money to hire Tata & Howard of Meriden, Connecticut, for the work.

The plant was built in 1981, but Department of Public Works Superintendent Guilford Mooring said no upgrades have ever been done.

Along with a new building for the treatment plant, the project would replace the current Roberts filters that treat the water and transition to dissolved air floatation, or DAF, technology.

The plant has been offline this year since being hit by lightning.

At a recent presentation, District 5 Councilor Darcy DuMont wondered whether the upgrades would make the plant more energy efficient.

Mooring said there will be an effort to save on electricity, though treatment plants are among the biggest power users in town. Use of variable speed motors in the new plant would reduce the need for electricity, he added.

Mooring said the state’s Department of Environmental Protection could decertify the plant, meaning no longer using water from Pelham reservoirs, the Hills and Hawley, if the upgrades are not done within the next five years.

Although the new building would have to meet the town’s net-zero energy bylaw, requiring new buildings to produce as much energy as they use, the processing equipment inside is exempt, Mooring said.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.


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