Engineer Tom Jenkins, Park Supervisor Adam Morris, Robert Mellace, DCR regional director, Park staff Tom Ragusa, state Rep. William 'Smitty' Pignatelli, DCR Commissioner Ed Lambert, Dan Beauvais from DCR, and Project Manager Dan Mortell cut the ribbon on the new dam.
The dam links the campground, beach and parking areas together.
MONTEREY, Mass. — Protecting the Berkshire's scenic beauty means investing in it and with the reopening of the Benedict Pond Dam, the state has spent $750,000 doing just that.
The dam in the Beartown State Forest was renovated to be handicapped accessible and more welcoming to the public.
Department of Conservation and Recreation Commission Edward Lambert said at a ribbon cutting on Tuesday that the new dam not only provides a high quality of life but will also contribute to the tourism industry.
"The bottom line is that we're very pleased with this infrastructure," Lambert said. "We know these facilities are important to the areas for both the quality of life and some tourism dollars."
Five years ago, the state hired engineering firm GZA GeoEnvironmental to design the new dam and recreational areas at a cost of about $120,000. This year, the state returned with $630,000 more for the construction, which was done by Maxymillian Construction.
The new dam ties a small beach, 12 campgrounds and a parking area for up to 74 vehicles together at the base of the state forest, which residents and tourists flock to for canoeing, fishing, and hiking.
DCR Commission Ed Lambert said the new recreational area will help preserve a high quality of life in the area.
The concrete dam was reconstructed, new walking paths were added that go over the dam and there were smaller upgrades to the camping areas and bathrooms.
"This is why people come here," state Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, D-Lenox, said as he pointed to the orange and brown foliage that overlooks the pond. "We've got to protect the assets we have."
The 550-foot dam was built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. But since then it had fallen into disrepair and become dangerous.
The reconstruction was finished in August.
The project is an example of Gov. Deval Patrick's emphasis on infrastructure and protecting natural resources despite tight fiscal times, Lambert said.
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