There was recently some good news for the economic development of the western Massachusetts community of Belchertown. According to Masslive.com, an agreement has been reached regarding an indemnification clause for the former Belchertown State School campus site.
This step toward further developing the local economy in Belchertown has benefits to homeowners. It will add to the tax base, reducing property tax liability and, for those on city sewer, the added tie-ins to the sewer system will help reduce annual fees.
Located on Route 202, the former campus site was sold to the town’s Economic Development and Industrial Corporation (EDIC) in 2002. Because the site requires significant remediation due to asbestos and other contaminants, the commonwealth’s Division of Capital Asset Management (DCAM) placed a clause in the deed making whoever owns the property liable for any lawsuits that may arise as a result of incidents that occurred when the state owned the property.
Why the EDIC accepted the property with this clause is unclear as common sense would dictate that nobody would be willing to accept ownership of the property under such conditions.
Because the EDIC has been working with Pennsylvania-based Weston Solutions to develop a large portion of the site for the last couple of years, town officials have been working tirelessly with legislators and DCAM to arrive at a solution.
The exact details of how the indemnification clause issue has been resolved are not known, but, according to the news report, Weston Solutions is expected to take ownership of 11 acres of the 30+ acre parcel soon.
Governor Deval Patrick approved a $10 million bond a couple of years ago to remediate the site as well. Meetings were held to discuss a partnership between the EDIC and MassDevelopment to clean the site up, but nothing has been done with those funds yet.
Weston Solutions plans to develop an assisted living facility first and prepare the site for future development. It has been reported that they will spend $2 million cleaning the site.
Belchertown will be doing its part to get the site re-developed as well. At the last Annual Town Meeting, voters approved a $1.25 million bond to pay to extend the road into the campus site.
If you are looking to buy or sell a home in Belchertown or surrounding communities, call Michael Seward at 413-531-7129.