WESTFIELD — The City Council voted unanimously on June 20 to purchase the land on Union Street where Westfield plans to build a new police headquarters.

Councilors supported the mayor’s plan to pay $758,000 to buy three parcels from the Roman Catholic Bishop of Springfield. The properties are the site of the former rectory and parking lots of Blessed Sacrament Church. The church itself was demolished 20 years ago to make way for new roadways serving the second Great River Bridge, and the congregation moved to new facilities on Holyoke Road.

Councilor William Onyski said the purchase could close by Aug. 1. He said the police chief highly recommended acquiring this site as the best option to replace the current Westfield Police Headquarters on Washington Street.

“They would like to move from a three-quarter-acre lot to an over-3.7-acre lot. It would be a benefit for everyone, the police and the city of Westfield,” Onyski said. He also said the report from the engineering group was expected in the last week of June. The mayor can cancel the purchase if the assessment reveals problems with the property.

On June 27, Mayor Michael McCabe said the environmental study was not yet completed, but he expected to have a definitive answer by July 15.

Diocesan officials agreed to sell the properties to the city in February, after prolonged negotiations over the price. The city had offered $758,000, which McCabe said at the time was the highest it could go. Although the site had been identified as the preferred site for the police station, McCabe said, the city was limited by a state law that prohibits cities from paying more than 125% of the assessed value of a property.

Church officials, who had been trying to sell the property for years, wanted nearly $1 million, however. The impasse was broken when private donors stepped in to make up the difference: $150,000 from an anonymous donor, $25,000 from Jack Dill, a principal with Colebrook Realty, the diocese’s real estate broker, and a $17,000 personal gift from the Rev. Daniel Pacholec, pastor of Blessed Sacrament.

The new police station will replace the current headquarters on Washington Street downtown, built in 1972 and considered too old and too small for modern purposes. The search for a new headquarters picked up in 2021 after humid summer weather and water damage led to several outbreaks of mold throughout the building, from the chief’s office to the traffic bureau to the holding cells in the basement.