Officials hesitant about proposal to purchase, demolish houses for $10 million relocation project

GREENFIELD — Greenfield city officials are considering buying and demolishing five homes along Fourth Street to make way for the Potts Ditch relocation project this summer.

The homes – built in a floodway near downtown Greenfield and affected regularly by flooding along the ditch – could cost as much as $300,000 total to buy. The city also would have to pay to raze them.

While city engineer Karla Vincent says the purchases could make the ditch project go more smoothly, the Greenfield Board of Works Tuesday was hesitant about the idea and put a decision on hold.

“I’m concerned about taking on five more homes we’d be responsible to demolish,” said member Kathy Locke.

Locke and the other four works board members had questions on the acquisitions, ranging from how much it would cost to destroy the properties, to how it could benefit the ditch-relocation project, to what to do with the properties when the project is completed.

The properties are located just west of State Street, at 20, 34, 35, 37 and 106 W. Fourth St.

Potts Ditch is a watershed that runs north and south through the entire city, becoming an underground tunnel once it reaches the downtown area.

Because the tunnel is undersized for the amount of water that it handles during heavy rainfall, city officials have been debating for decades whether to reroute the ditch.

Last year, officials signed off on a $10 million relocation project, part of which is being paid with increased rates from Greenfield Utilities customers.

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