This is my statement prior to voting on Feb. 14 for the redevelopment plan for One Westfield Place.
As the most recently elected council member, I’ve heard from hundreds of people, especially last year while I was campaigning door-to-door as this project was a major part of the conversation during my election.
While, yes, there are some residents expressing some reservations about some aspects of the project, much of the input I received has been positive. I ran in support of OWP, talking to residents on a daily basis while canvassing, and meeting them at the preview center when it opened at the end of September while my opponent ran very much against the project and during our candidate’s forum, she continued to express her sentiments against the project and lost the election two weeks later in our Ward 1 election by 12 points.
Secondly, I am voting for this project because HBC – Streetworks continues to be a good partner with Westfield. When they unveiled this project last year as a liaison, in September, they promised to be the listening developer and they certainly were. They have listened and made numerous changes to their project, which have been previously detailed.
I also appreciate the Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Westfield Corporation, which I sat on last year, for their support of the project. After speaking with our downtown merchants and restaurateurs, the directors of the DWC believe that One Westfield Place will be a “catalyst for growth” of our downtown businesses. Those are their words – catalyst for growth – and I think we can all agree that we all want a thriving downtown.
I am satisfied that the experts who provided us with testimony did so based on their knowledge, skill, experience, training, and education. The redevelopment plan went before our Planning Board last week as we all know and have discussed. After reviewing it, the Planning Board found that this project is aligned with our master plan. I accept their determination and that it was made in good faith.
After having spent many hours learning about the project, debating it, giving my input, I am satisfied that One Westfield Place is exactly the kind of smart development that will help revive our downtown, improve property values, help keep our property taxes stable, and positively contribute to our quality of life.
One Westfield Place will definitely change our community, but will change it for the better. We are taking a vacant building and parking lots and turning them into a thriving mixed-use, transit-oriented development that will bring people into our town to live and work, bringing new economic vitality to Westfield.
For those reasons, I am enthusiastically voting yes
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