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New dog park to top busy special TM in South Hadley

  • South Hadley Town Hall.



Staff Writer
Monday, November 05, 2018

SOUTH HADLEY — A special Town Meeting on Wednesday night will consider topics such as the establishment of a dog park on Mulligan Drive and the creation of a fund to improve, repair or replace Mosier Elementary School.

Of the 12 articles that will be presented, articles 4 and 5 ask voters if the town should enter into an agreement with the Friends of the South Hadley Dog Park group and provide funding to match a Stanton grant. The grant will fund 90 percent of up to $225,000 for construction expenses and 100 percent of up to $25,000 in design costs, according to a proposal for the dog park.

The proposal, which was presented at a Sept. 11 Select Board meeting, outlines the creation of an approximately 3-acre dog park located on Mulligan Drive.

“This has been a very popular item,” Town Administrator Mike Sullivan said of the dog park in a special Town Meeting prebriefing recorded by South Hadley Community Television.

He added, “We had 45 dog enthusiasts here on a Saturday morning” in support of the park.

Article 5 asks if the town should transfer $30,000 from unreserved free cash or other funds to match a Stanton grant of up to $25,000. The extra $5,000 would be used towards a drinkable water connection for the park and other startup costs.

Friends of the South Hadley Dog Park would need to achieve nonprofit status before it could enter into an agreement with the town.

Sullivan said  at the prebriefing that the town’s unreserved free cash is “very healthy this year,” with a general fund of $2,659,656. Last year’s balance was just over $2.7 million.

Other articles

Article 1 asks voters if the town should establish a “Mosier School Stabilization Fund,” which would receive $200,000 from unreserved free cash. The fund would be used to improve, repair or replace the school.

At the prebriefing, Sullivan said that the Massachusetts School Building Authority evaluated the school over the summer, and that the town will use the authority’s anticipated report to decide the school’s fate.

“At some point the town is going to have to decide whether they’re going to replace or renovate the school, which one’s more prudent,” Sullivan said. “But still, starting to move money into a stabilization fund earmarked for that project, I strongly believe is a wise financial move… Putting it away is a good idea while you have it.”

Articles 6 and 7 involve transferring funds from unreserved free cash to separate stabilization funds for the Senior Center, as well as the Capital Stabilization Fund and Stabilization Fund.

Other articles include money to refund the replacement of Town Hall’s main sewer pipe and a new walkway installation, as well as transferring money to the town’s Compensation Fund, Other Post Employment Benefit Fund, Ledges annual contracts, the National Fish and Wildlife Futures Grant and the creation of an Americans With Disability Act Self-Evaluation and Transition Plan.