Program aims to compensate homeowners located near Barnes ANG Base

Program offers soundproofing upgrades, buyouts affected by noise levels from nearby airfield

WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Imagine a noise so loud that it literally drives people out of their homes. It’s that daily decibel level from Barnes Air National Guard Base that’s causing this. Now, there are empty lots where homes once stood.

Since 2009, Wyle Acoustical Engineering has obtained grant money to give annoyed homeowners an out. The program is doing two things: For people who want to stay in their home, it’s funding soundproofing efforts. But for people who want to leave, they’re buying up the houses and demolishing them.

Robert Matyseck has lived in his home since 1968. His home was upgraded to absorb sound using mostly federal money. “They spent a lot of money on my house and it didn’t cost me a penny,” he explained. “Sheetrock on the outside walls. I got all new ceilings and all new windows.”

Marcia Orlandi’s father is 90 years old and has lived on Holyoke Road for 60 years. They’ve agree to sell. “The noise has gotten progressively worse,” she told 22News. “We talked about it before and we decided that when it was time for him to leave this house, we would sell it to the city or the federal government or whoever it is. He will leave and it will be torn down.”

They have $2.5 million this year to buy houses. The program does not force homeowners to leave. They’ll be speaking to homeowners on Cara Lane, North Road and Holyoke Road.