Westfield residents protest up and coming renovation plan


These lawn signs are seen in yards across Westfield.

Luella Mockbee and Emma Silva

On the 22nd of September 2022, a town council meeting was held. In that meeting, a new idea for redeveloping 14 acres of downtown Westfield was introduced. The project contains many different plans regarding the Lord & Taylor site along with parts of North and South Avenue, including the train station parking lot. Ever since the introduction of this project, there has been a debate throughout the entirety of Westfield, deciding whether this plan is a good idea or not. Many people have shared their opinion on this plan by placing posters in their yards and creating petitions to try and make their voices heard. This plan will drastically change downtown Westfield, having construction take place for many years. One Westfield Place is a poor idea because it will bring too much traffic and our town will not be able to handle this massive project.

To begin, traffic is already a very prominent problem in Westfield, especially recently, due to repaving across the whole town. Westfields downtown is the most popular place to go in our whole town for residents, even some who live in other towns. Due to its popularity, it is packed with cars and traffic. Construction in downtown would cause the already annoying traffic to heighten. There are over 30 open businesses downtown and a couple more opening for business shortly.. Construction will make it harder for people to get to their workplace. 7th grader Abigail Drennan expressed, “One Westfield Place is a bad idea because Westfield is already appealing, putting more apartments will overpopulate our schools, and our traffic will increase.”

Apartments in town have been a big controversial issue. This project will include adding more apartments, housing, and office space. Specifically, it includes space for 205 residential housing, 310,000 square feet of office space, 25,400 square feet of amenity space, and 27,410 square feet of commercial uses. This will cause town to severely overpopulate with more residents since there will be more living space. Also, there will be more jobs in town, even though there are already so many stores and businesses in downtown. 8th grader, Isla Karen stated, “This project will change our town’s environment. We already have a large population; more people will make travel harder due to the apartments.”

Some people argue that this plan is beneficial for Westfield because it provides more job opportunities and will bring more business to town. Gym teacher Mrs. Christine Cabrales commented, “I think that it is an exciting plan. It will bring more business and housing for people who use the train. Although, the traffic may get worse.” 

This statement is true in some aspects. This project is being made to make our town look nicer, but at what cost? So far, many residents have had many concerns over this project. This project may bring in more business to our downtown, but the time in between will bring our business down for the years that the project is being worked on. This may cause many stores to close down due to the lack of business because of the construction, making our town look unappealing. After the construction is done, we may lose many of our local businesses to the decline in business. 

 Our downtown is full of history and beautiful architecture. If this plan goes through, who knows what may happen to the rest of our downtown. Traffic and population are just two of the very pressing issues regarding this project. There are many others, including price, noise, and the time span of this project. Citizens’ protests have been recognized by the town, but seem to have had no change in the subject. Westfield is not ready for this big of a change.