A building at the former Montague Department of Public Works property at 500 Avenue A in Turners Falls. A request for proposals was issued Tuesday to help decide the property’s future. Proposals are due Dec. 9. Staff Photo/Paul Franz
A building at the former Montague Department of Public Works property at 500 Avenue A in Turners Falls. A request for proposals was issued Tuesday to help decide the property’s future. Proposals are due Dec. 9. Staff Photo/Paul Franz
MONTAGUE — A second request for proposals (RFP) was issued Tuesday to help decide the future of the former Public Works garage.
Town Planner Walter Ramsey framed the property’s renewed availability as “an exciting redevelopment opportunity” after the town received no proposals during its 2020 RFP period. Now, he said, the town has rekindled optimism in its ability to sell the 500 Avenue A property after it received a “clean bill of health” in October following environmental testing. Montague will accept proposals at a minimum bid price of $75,000 until 10 a.m. on Dec. 9.
Use of the property, located in the industrial district at the southern end of Avenue A, dates back to 1914 when it was the site of a silk mill, according to documents shared during a recent Selectboard meeting. When the silk mill was demolished around 1940, a new building was constructed about a decade later for use as an electrical utility garage.
The 11,250-square-foot building there today was constructed in 1959 and was purchased by the town for use by the DPW in 1963. In November 2020, the DPW moved into a larger, new building at the corner of Turnpike Road and Turners Falls Road.
With its long history of industrial usage, concerns arose as to whether the property might have environmental contaminants. This, the town believes, may have deterred prospective buyers from submitting proposals in 2020.
Since then, the town has completed a $32,000 two-phase assessment to determine how environmentally suitable the property is for use. The assessment entailed four inspections: proper removal of underground storage units, dye tests to confirm floor drains connected to municipal sewers, sampling groundwater for contamination and sampling soil for contamination. To town officials’ relief, the property passed in all areas.
“We’re very pleased that it’s a clean site,” Ramsey said. “I wouldn’t say it was surprising, but welcome.”
Prospective owners can now submit proposals through the town’s website at montague-ma.gov/BIDS. Additionally, those interested in buying the property are encouraged to attend a site walk at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 18.
Money from the sale will become part of the town’s general funds to be reappropriated during a future Town Meeting. Ramsey said the primary benefit of the sale for the community, though, will be that the property returns to tax rolls to generate revenue for the town.

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or jmendoza@recorder.com.
Montague SB Meeting Material 2021-10-25 by Julian Mendoza on Scribd
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