Published: 03/27/2022 22:54:32
Modified: 03/27/2022 22:53:36
MONTAGUE — The Economic and Industrial Development Corporation has endorsed town planner Walter Ramsey’s recommendation that Town Assembly voters grant custody of the former Railroad Salvage property to the Selectboard so they can make it available ” for economic development or housing purposes”.
The property, located at 11 Power St., was the site of a fire that saw the building fall into disrepair in December 2016, more than two decades after the Railroad Salvage store disappeared and the building became vacant in 1994. Following a lengthy legal process, the city finally won a final foreclosure judgment for the private property, which City Administrator Steve Ellis announced at a March 7 Selectboard meeting.
Now the property is one of two parcels in Montague being considered for redevelopment as “smart growth overlay districts,” defined by Massachusetts general law as “mixed-use or residential smart growth zoning districts.” dense, including…affordable housing…in areas of concentrated development such as town centers and existing town centers, and other highly suitable locations. This proposal is expected to be presented to voters at the annual municipal meeting alongside Ramsey’s recommendation.
“There have been a few different parties interested in developing this site,” Ramsey told the Economic Development and Industrial Corporation on Thursday.
While the members collectively approved of Ramsey bringing his recommendation to the town assembly, not all members agreed on the benefits to the town.
Member James Mussoni speculated that Montague’s economy would quickly benefit if housing were implemented due to a boom in potential workers, but member Richard Ruth argued that addressing labor shortages work would not be so simple.
“I just don’t want to assume that if we bring people in, we’re all of a sudden going to have an industry,” Ruth said.
Ruth then said that if housing were to be put in place, Montague’s goal should be “to attract young families”. Member Kimberly Williams responded that Ramsey’s proposal to seek mixed housing on the site would help achieve this goal.
“Young people, in general, are going to need affordable things like apartments to move,” Williams said. “They’re not going to move into the houses.”
Reaching Julian Mendoza
at 413-772-0261 ext. 261 or [email protected]