Amy Gates: North Hadley Village Hall’s fate undecided

  • The 1864 North Hadley Village Hall at 239 River Drive. Gazette file photo

Published: 7/24/2021 6:59:11 AM

In light of the recent guest column and letters to this paper, I wanted to let the residents of Hadley know what’s been going on with their Select Board regarding the Village Hall. Despite its being portrayed as sold, that is not the case.

Some of you may recall the 2019 Town Meeting where the town voted by a landslide to lift Article 97 from the ballfield abutting the Village Hall. (Article 97 is an amendment to the state Constitution, protecting the ballfield from ever being developed.)

Past attempts to do this had always been voted down. The vote was for Hadley resident and contractor, Peter Heronemus. His proposal, unanimously accepted by the Select Board, was to create a concert hall/community space inside the building and preserve the ballfield as is. All that remained was creating a legal document protecting the ballfield in perpetuity, and signing the purchase and sale paperwork.

This turned into seven months of negotiations by the Select Board, ultimately resulting in their voting to terminate negotiations with Heronemus, and a few months later voting to accept, without discussion, a new bid. The newly accepted proposal includes changing part of the street-facing facade of the Hall, zero square footage for community space inside, and paving a significant portion of the ballfield for parking.

During those seven months of negotiations the Select Board never sent Heronemus a purchase-and-sale, in keeping with his accepted proposal, changing previously agreed upon aspects, and instead of a simple document protecting the ballfield, submitted a six-page Land Development Agreement containing just one paragraph about the ballfield. What folks might not know is that Heronemus is still in the game, trying legally to purchase the Hall. He remains ready, willing and able to do so — and his intentions for it have never changed.

He could really use your support. I urge Hadley residents to call the Select Board, reminding them that you voted for what Heronemus was going to do for your community, and to honor their original, accepted proposal with him.

Amy Gates

Amherst




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