Town Administrator Jonathan Butler asked to board to start planning for the reuse of the town buildings so they did not fall by the wayside.
ADAMS, Mass. — The Council on Aging will transition into the Discover the Berkshires Visitors Center after the building falls into the town's hands in May.
The Board of Selectmen approved the transition on Tuesday after discussing multiple town-owned buildings that will be vacant in the coming months.
The Community Center, which houses the Council on Aging, is in drastic need for repairs and town officials would rather move out before those capital repairs become immediate.
"I think it is perfect for the senior center," Selectman Michael Ouellette said of the soon-to-be-vacant vistors center. "There are a bunch of properties and buildings that we should get rid of, but this isn't one of them."
The transition is expected to take a months so immediately upon the Berkshire Visitors Bureau's departure on May 1, the town is hoping to get volunteers to reopen the building as a visitors' center. The Berkshire Visitors Bureau is moving to Pittsfield with other county organization under the 1Berkshire umbrella.
"We have to have an immediate plan for the next steps. I would like to keep it open as a visitors' center," Town Administrator Jonathan Butler said.
Butler said the town is positioning itself as a recreational area and since the building is right on the trail, keeping the doors open during the summer is important. Additionally, he added that the Thunderbolt Ski Runners are interested in putting in a display for visitors.
The Community Center also houses the Youth Center and officials said they need a plan for that, too. One option would be in the reuse of the Adams Memorial Middle School, which is likely going to fall into the town's hands despite officials seeking interest from private developers.
"The Youth Center is too important. We're not going to kick them out on the street," Selectman Jason Hnatonko said. "I would love to see the Youth Center take advantage of the school."
The school is on a path of being vacant for the next four or five years, according to Butler, and the town needs to start a commission to really examine its reuse. No private developers are interested in the building and it is in need of significant repairs.
"We've basically ruled out private interest," Butler said, adding that only nonprofit groups have expressed interest in reusing the property.
Board members discussed looking at federal grants for repairs and the possibility to moving the Council on Aging there in the future but ultimately, officials said they need to make a plan before committing to anything.
As for the Community Center, officials are unsure of what will happen but if there is going to be a vacant building, they would rather have it on East Street instead of downtown.
The Community Center has had years of neglected repairs and is a "ticking time bomb" for the town to continue maintaining, according to Butler.
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