The town of Adams has received grant money toward repurposing a vacant car wash into a train station.
ADAMS, Mass. — The town has received nearly $400,000 in state grant funding for the renovation of a local car wash into a train station, as part of the Berkshire Scenic Railway Project.
Adams is getting $386,820 in state funding from a Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities grant (PARC) that will go toward the building of a train station for the Adams end of the railway Project.
The grant requires that the town show proof of non-state funding used toward the project, which the town will seek approval for during an upcoming special town meeting in early 2014, according to Town Administrator Jonathan Butler.
The town's contribution for the train station project will be up to $150,000 in appropriations, applied to the Parks and Recreation or Public Works line item, as part of its capital obligation.
"The town is very excited about this news, as it comes on the back of a very positive public presentation about the overall Berkshire Scenic Rail Project in Adams that took place last week," Butler said.
The grant requires that the public have access to the park or land that benefits from its funding, which is fits in with the projected train station.
These grant funds will be applied to the former car wash located across the street from the Adams Visitors Center at 4 Hoosac St., the site of what will be a replica train station. The car wash has not operated in years.
In addition to being a refuge from inclement weather, a 300-foot platform will be built to accommodate loading and unloading passengers. The inside of the existing car-wash bays will feature historical displays, local maps, vending machines. The exterior of the station will be made to look like an historic train station.
According to architect Craig Okerstrom Lang, president of Okerstrom Lang Landscape Architects that designed the new station, approval by the Conservation Commission of any on-site developments is required because of wetlands on the existing property.
"We've already had preliminary conversations with the Conservation Commission, which we always do. We are on solid ground with what we want to do," Butler said.
The state Department of Transportation is currently finalizing plans for the expansion of the Berkshire Scenic Railway project, in conjunction with the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail. A representative of the state-contracted engineering firm HDR said plans are projected to be complete as early as next month and as late as March, at which time the state and its developers will need to address environmental concerns, such as noise and drainage, before beginning construction.
Adams is one of 16 communities to receive PARC grant funding, according to a press release issued by the Patrick administration on Tuesday. Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan announced more than $4.3 million in open spaces investments throughout Western Massachusetts, including 19 other cities and towns.
Three other Berkshire County municipalities and organizations were awarded grant funding from open space investments: a total of $1,774,000 in PARC and Gateway City Parks grant funding for the First Street Common Park in Pittsfield, which was announced by Gov. Deval Patrick and Sullivan two weeks ago; a $35,632 Conservation Partnership grant to add 66 acres owned by the city of North Adams to Berkshire Natural Resource Council's 740-acre Hoosac Range Reserve; and an $85,000 Conservation Partnership grant to protect 45 acres by the Trustees of Reservations on Monument Mountain in Great Barrington.
"The Patrick administration is committed to improving our parks and open spaces across the commonwealth," Sullivan said during a press conference in Easthampton on Tuesday. "In addition to preserving open space, improving recreational opportunities and protecting the Commonwealth’s natural resources, these investments will create economic growth across the region."
Formerly the Urban Self-Help Program, the PARC Grant Program is given as assistance to cities and towns for the acquisition and development of lands or parks for outdoor recreation purposes.