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Arthur 'Skip' Harrington was elected as chairman.
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Town Administrator Jonathan Butler said he and the selectmen could improve they way the communicate with each other.

Adams to Rebid Park Street Construction Project

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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Selectman Jeffrey Snoonian joined the board for his first meeting after being elected on Monday.

ADAMS, Mass. — The Park Street improvement project hit a speed bump when bids for the reconstruction came in over budget.

Town Administrator Jonathan Butler said streetscape project will be delayed about a month because of lack of bidders.

With only two bidders, the lowest bid was $113,000 over $700,000 budget.

"Generally with a project of this scope you have five or six bids and sometimes eight or 10," Butler said.

The project will reconstruct the streets and sidewalks from McKinley Square to Town Hall, and will decorative elements and safety improvements for pedestrians. It's been in the planning stages since 2010 and funded by a Community Development Block Grant.

Butler said tweaks will be made to the project and it will be sent out to bid again. If the project does not meet the set budget, Butler said it is a possible the state could take away the funding it could be pushed into the construction season.

"We are as disappointed as anybody that the initial bids didn’t come in the way that we wanted, but unfortunately it does happen sometimes," Butler said. "We will move as quickly as we can and try to make the project move as efficiently as we can."

Selectman Joseph Nowak expressed concerns with the former Memorial Middle School and the transparency of decision making as well as its use. Both the community center and the Soldier On program have shown interest in the building and Nowak was concerned about mixed use.

"You are going to have soldiers that have been devastated by war around young children, and that doesn’t make any sense to me," Nowak said.

Jeffery Snoonian, the newly elected selectman, said that if both organization were to coincide in the building there would most likely be parameters.

“I think if the time ever came where the youth center did move in with Soldier On, I think there would definitely be safeguards in play,” Snoonian said.

Butler said no decisions have been made on what the building will be used for, and the only thing finalized was the roof project.

"There have been no decisions made that exceed that the Board of Selectmen … chose to pursue state funding for a roof replacement," he said. "We have done nothing beyond that scope internally as a town."

Nowak also asked about the engineering study for the school. Butler said the draft was delivered two weeks ago from Mass Development.

Nowak asked why the draft has not been made public yet. Butler replied that it must go through an analytical process so he can better answer the board’s questions.

"I have not passed it on yet because as a professional staff we have not had the chance to look at the study," Butler said.

Nowak said a lot of his questions have yet to be answered about the building and feels as though he has been misinterpreted by the rest of the board members as not being a team player when he asks questions.

"You can paint it any way you want about me, but I am working for the people of this town so let them paint the portrait because I don’t think what you are doing to me will stick on that canvas," he said.

Chairman Arthur "Skip" Harrington ended the argument and asked the board to be more respectful towards each other.

"As a group we have to work together, and we can't be accusatory and defensive about things," Harrington said.

Butler agreed that he and the board must change the way they communicate on a public forum.

"I think we can do better in terms of conveying what is happening in this community, and it's OK to disagree… but sometimes I think it's the nature in which we disagree that we can improve on, myself included," he said.

Along with questions about the school building, Butler added that the town has left around $100,000 in the budget as a safeguard in case changes has to be made in the renovation plan.

In other business, Harrington was voted in as chairman by the board with 3-2 vote. Selectman Richard Blanchard was also nominated. The board voted unanimously for Blanchard as the vice chairman.

Colleen Janz, executive director of the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace and Museum, asked the board about advertising the museum more along with other businesses attractions with the use of more signage. She proposed expanding on two Adams welcome signs with a list of locations in Adams to better direct tourist.

Butler said because the signs are on public property they must go through the building inspector first because a private entity cannot just be put on a public sign.

He asked that she create a plan and propose it to the building inspector. He added that there may even be funding available.

The Maple Grove Civic Club meeting Sunday, May 18, at 3 p.m. at the PNA; a representative from the Berkshire Regional Planning will discuss population decline in the Berkshires and possible remedies.

Butler said the DPW Director Search Committee has three applicants to send to the Selectmen for interviews.

The Adams Station Project property on 4 Hoosac St. was purchased April 24 and the paperwork for the reimbursement is being written.

The board approved Dana Labbee as the new operator one at the wastewater treatment plant.

Correction: The project would not lose funding but could be delayed another year. An error in transcribing a quote led to posting the incorrect information. iBerkshires regrets the error.

Tags: Adams Memorial Middle School,   Park Street,   signage,   streetscape,   Susan B. Anthony,   

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