The shovel ready jobs came to Westfield Massachusetts in an explosion of construction. It seems as if one morning the city was navigating around its usual congested traffic patterns and the next day the pavement turned to dirt and the beautiful New England green was vacuumed into outer space.
The large American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) green sign was anchored near the curb on Board Street and life in this typical Western Mass municipal has not been the same. This is not a typical construction project going on in this city; it is wide spread and aggressive.
During the first few weeks when the area around the Big Y Plaza and US Post Office were dug up, you could see the cloud of dust from traffic coming down the hill by Nobel Hospital.
I can complain about what it rendered my car looking like once driving through it, but that was nothing in comparison to what it must have been doing to the people working in it. The construction workers and the Westfield police officers assigned to the area needed some type of masks with the amount of dust and fine particles of debris in the air.
The first attempts at bringing the dust cloud under control did not work well. They sprayed water on it several times a day to weigh the dust down and keep it from getting air born. They finally paved the road temporarily to end that respiratory madness.
Getting around in the city has been virtually impossible for the last few months, but this is the price we pay for a shovel ready job that will bring massive improvements, so they say, to the city.
I still do not understand what they are doing to the green in the center of Westfield’s rotary. This once nice tree lined piece of land gave a natural shade covering for the farmers market, pancake breakfasts, and all the other seasonal events held in this spot.
It seemed like overnight the trees came down, the grass was dug up and it has been left this way for a while. The first time I saw this as I rounded the bend coming off Court Street, I started to cry. It still looks like a meteor hit the green and left its blown out remains behind.
This American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) that came down upon Westfield stimulated this city in many aspects. It has indirectly provided more work for the city’s businesses. The amount of work will probably never show up in any statistical report, but it is out there.
Tires companies, mechanics, and the car washes most likely saw their numbers rise due to blown out tires, along with shocks and struts that needed replacing. Every car in the city needed to be washed at one time or another if it moved out of the driveway, bringing big business to the car washes.
Hopefully when Westfield is put back together this will all have been worth it. We may not know this in our lifetime because it seems as if it has a long way to go, but our grandchildren may reap the benefits.
Reference: Living in Westfield Mass during the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), TheWhite House.gov