WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A plot of land known to neighbors as “the hole” has been the cause of controversy in Westfield. The city wants to build a school on the site since the current elementary schools are run down and in need of upgrades.
The land, located at the intersection of Ashley and Cross Streets, has a playground and a ball park on it. The legal issue is whether building a school on the property would require a two-thirds vote of the state legislature to release the parkland from protected status as required by law.
22News talked to Emily Larson, who is a mother and teacher who lives next to the hole. “I think the original plan that they laid out does not fit the needs of the neighborhood or the city,” she said. “We are on year five, so at this point I think maybe we should just start over.”
The ongoing legal fight has forced Westfield to lease other school facilities and to bus students outside of the city limits. The dispute has been going on for five years and will soon head to the state Supreme Judicial Court.