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Adams COA To Move Into Visitors Center On Sept. 24

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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Town Administrator Jonathan Butler said the transition of the Discover the Berkshires Visitor's Center is 'coming along nicely.'
ADAMS, Mass. — The Council on Aging is hoping to open in the Adams Visitors Center on Sept. 24.

Town Administrator Jonathan Butler said on Wednesday that the center will close out operations at its current East Street building on Sept. 17, spend a week moving and then reopen in the new building on Sept. 24.

"From Sept. 17 to the 24th there will be no Council on Aging services in Adams," Butler said. "A lot of these things are coming together nicely."

The town has awarded a contract to Burke Construction to demolish a wall in the center to create one larger room as well as install an accordion dividing wall. That renovation is expected to begin on Monday and last about a month, Butler said.

The dividing wall was questioned by Selectman John Duval, to whom Butler quickly responded by saying the dividing wall was always part of the project. The new wall was bid separately in case the budgeted $80,000 was not enough for everything, he said. The new wall cost an additional $20,000, which brings the total project to about $72,000.

During the construction, the visitors center is expected to stay open the majority of the time. It has been opening five days a week — from Wednesday to Sunday — with a new volunteer staff. Butler said he is looking for more volunteers to increase those hours and added that some of the seniors from the Council on Aging could eventually help out.

"We can definitely use plenty more. Feel free to bring a friend, anything we can do to get bodies down there to welcome people to Adams," Butler said. "Managing to get it open for five days a week is a good start."

On the exhibit front, the Thunderbolt Ski Runners are in the process of planning out the new exhibitions and Butler expects it to be completely open in October and partially open during September.

In other business, the Zoning Board of Appeals asked the Board of Selectmen to start the process of writing new zoning bylaws for backyard poultry.

The ZBA has recently been faced with issues regarding chickens being raised in residential areas and without  bylaws, the board has had little to guide it in addressing complaints. However, since the ZBA does not propose changes — the Planning Board does — the board has asked the Selectmen to start the conversation.

However, while the Selectmen can ask the Community Development department to investigate the issue, board members thought there were more pressing issues.

"I just don't know if this is worth it," Selectman Michael Ouellette said.

Butler said the issue has taken up a lot of time for the ZBA and inspectors and that addressing it could save a lot of time and effort down the road.

"It might be a good idea to have the Board of Selectmen do their due diligence and pass it onto the Planning Board," Butler said. "I think backyard poultry is a rising trend."

The board took no action but will talk with the ZBA and the inspectors to get a firmer understanding of how big of an issue it is.

The board also signed the final easement needed for the extension of the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail from Hoosac Street to Lime Street. The town spend about two years gaining access to lands owned by business owners in the Corporate Park, which included threats of eminent domain.

"This agreement is the famed last and final easement we need to sign," Butler said.

Tags: building project,   Council on Aging,   visitors center,   volunteers,   

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