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NORTHAMPTON — The Northampton City Council is on the verge of adopting Mayor Gina-Louise Sciarra’s five-year Capital Improvement Program, which previews upcoming projects like street resurfacing, city and school building upgrades and major DPW projects.

The document, which is 465 pages long, outlines a plan to spend over $108 million on capital improvement projects between fiscal years 2025 and 2029, including $21.7 million for FY25 alone. The city uses different sources like the undesignated fund balance, capital stabilization, parking receipts, revolving funds, community preservation act money, state funding and water and sewer enterprise funds to fund these projects.

Sciarra unveiled the plan during the Northampton City Council meeting on March 21 and delivered a breakdown of some community projects that are on the horizon over the next five years.

The city charter requires Northampton to submit a five-year “road map” of the potential needs and improvements across all facets of the community.

The CIP is reviewed and updated by the mayor in consultation with Finance Director Charlene Nardi, and the Ad Hoc Capital Planning Committee, which consists of City Council and School Committee representatives as well as other members of the community who bring different levels of expertise.

Each year, these entities ask department heads in the city to list their project priorities in order of importance. The mayor’s office and finance director then rank the requests from these departments and determine which ones should be addressed throughout the five years.

During the March 21 meeting, Sciarra said the city continues to work on ways to align the CIP with the city’s climate action work.

“We’re continuing to work on assisting the departments in directing their capital work towards its climate impact benefits,” Sciarra said.

Out of the $21.7 million allocated for FY25, Sciarra said around $13.1 million of that is reserved for enterprise projects while $8.6 million is expected to be used for departments like school and DPW.

According to Sciarra, the five-year plan includes $15,650,000 for capital projects that help maintain Northampton Public School buildings.

“After completing the net zero greenhouse gas planning and evaluation study for all of the schools, we are preparing decarbonization strategies,” Sciarra said.

One major project listed for FY27 and FY28 is roof replacement at the JFK Middle School, which will cost a total of $3.5 million, according to the CIP plan.

Another involves a $2.7 million commitment in FY26 for VRF and ERV work in Leeds Elementary School and $600,000 in FY25 to rebuild tennis courts with a new design at JFK Middle School.

Other projects include efforts to improve specific wings for schools. For example, there is $1.7 million allocated in FY27 for ERV construction in the Leeds ‘90s wing.

The CIP also delineates major projects for DPW across the next five years, including $8.5 million in FY25 for Wastewater Treatment Plant and Pump Station improvements and $8 million across the next five years for street resurfacing.

During the March 21 meeting, DPW Director Donna LaScaleia laid out plans for paving and reconstructing sidewalks. She said the plan this construction season is to reconstruct sidewalks at North Elm Street and sections of Chestnut Street, as well as the sidewalk that goes all the way from the Look Park roundabout into Florence Center.

“Those areas were considered high priority because they’re within certain distances of schools or of a central business district, so what we’ve been trying to do is target those areas as listed in the sidewalk inventory and then go after them as we reconstruct roadways,” LaScaleia said.

According to the CIP, a total of $1.2 million is allocated in the next five years for sidewalks and another $1.2 million is committed to road improvements.

Other major DPW projects include $8,2 million in FY26 for Transmission Main rehabilitation and $8 million in FY27 for reservoir construction.

Another major project of interest is the structural remediation of Memorial Hall, which sits next to City Hall. During its March 7 regular meeting, the Northampton City Council approved $426,218 from the city’s Stabilization Fund for emergency repairs after a recent report found “escalating structural issues” throughout the building, including “significantly compromised” lolly columns in the basement, sagging on the first floor creating separation from baseboards and flooring and falling chunks of granite and brick near the side entrance.

The CIP outlines $4.3 million in spending for necessary improvements to the hall over the next five years, including efficiency reconfiguration.

“We, the Veterans Council of Northampton, urge this body to authorize funding to help return Memorial Hall back to the proud structure it has been for close to 150 years and as a tribute to the brave men and women who have continued to serve in our country’s armed forces,” said Steven Connor, the director of Veterans Services, during the public comment portion of the CIP discussion.

Reminder Publishing reported on the building’s deterioration in a prior edition: thereminder.com/localnews/northampton/northampton-city-council-approves-money-for-emerge/.

Other spending illustrated in the CIP include $1.1 million in FY25 to replace a fire engine and $325,000 in FY25 for exterior repairs to City Hall.

The council is expected to vote on a resolution to adopt the five-year CIP during its April 4 meeting. Individual financial orders for specific projects from the CIP will be voted on afterward.

Readers can learn more about the CIP by visiting the city website: northamptonma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/24925/FY2025-FY2029-Capital-Improvement-Program-PDF.

The council also announced at its March 21 meeting that City Council meetings will start at 6:30 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. beginning on May 2.

rfeyre@thereminder.com | + posts