Historic Wigwam Gift Shop to Reopen on Mohawk Trail

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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The Wigwam will open under new management this summer.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Wigwam Gift Shop is set to reopen this summer.

The Planning Board on Monday night approved a special permit to operate the seasonal shop and food sales.

Keith Bona, who owns Berkshire Emporium, said he is running the operation for Wigwam owner Roger Hurst.

"It is going to be somewhat similar to what we had in the past," Bona said, but with new types of merchandise similar to what's offered at Emporium, and fewer of the tourist tchotchke.

"There will be a food trailer on the outside that's unrelated to me particularly," he said.

He will carry some food, including possibly from I Got Goodies. "It's always known to be the place for fudge," said Bona.
He wasn't sure when it be ready to open since Hurst is in the process of doing some renovations to the building and making it more handicapped accessible.

The century-old shop's been closed since 2009 when it was included in the Berkshire Natural Resources Councils purchase of 700 acres for conservancy. Principals in the Red Lion Inn and Porches Inn bought the gift shop, house and tourist cabins with the intent of developing a destination tourism spot but that plan fell through.  

Hurst, operating as R&C Arrowhead LLC, closed on the property for $275,000 on May 5. He had been renting the house on the property for a couple years.

Planners approved the application with the conditions the store can be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week. Bona anticipated opening five days initially.

The Planning Board also approved the reconstruction of a new radio and cell tower by North Adams Tower Co. at 2387 Mohawk Trail.

Two towers at the site had collapsed in high winds at the end of March, complicating and limiting emergency and cell communications.

Corydon Thurston, principal of North Adams Tower, said the old towers include a 150-self supporting latticework and a 160-foot guy-support tower.

The new tower is 195-foot tall topped with a 3-foot light beacon, although Thurston said the Federal Aviation Administration doesn't requre it.

The new tower will be supported with rock anchors drilled 35 feet for each leg, and be installed in-between the two older ones.

Thurston said the it appears one of the towers twisted as fell, catching the other one — the wind was to the east, but the towers fell to the west.

A temporary tower was installed on the Western Summit to alleviate communications issues.

"The failure was not on the foundation," said Thursday."We're not sure with what really happened."

The board approved the permit despite the objections of abuttors Kevin Bubriski of Shaftsbury, Vt., and Peter Bubriski of Williamstown and Cambridge.

The Bubriskis own property from their late mother, Dagmar Bubriski, on two sides of Thurston's; the state and federal government own the other two.

"My concern is the safety of our property," said Kevin Bubriski, noting the taller tower proposed could fall on their land or in the road.

They also raised issues of the right of way being turned into a road and having limited access, that the application didn't comply the city's zoning laws; that plans weren't detailed enough; that the higher tower was new construction; and that it could have a deleterious affect on their property.

"We seem to be having more and more severe weather events," Kevin Bubriski said, adding he understands the need for a communications tower. "We just want to make sure that the board makes sure the entire plan is gone through carefully."

Board Chairman Michael Leary said much of which the Bubriskis were concerned with did not fall under the purview of the Planning Board.

Thurston said the right of way was closed by order of the police as a safety measure after the collapse but is currently open.

"We're going to be building a big one," he said. "Yes, we're rebuilding but we're goning to make sure it's rebuilt to handle the loads on it."

The board also approved:

•  The development of three storage warehouses at the former school bus depot at 969 South Church St. by Justin Henderson.

New signage for the rear of The Hub so it can be seen from Route 2; for MountainOne on the scoreboard at Joe Wolfe Field; for the new Bond Auto Parts on Curran Highway; and for RJ's Used Cars.

•  They also signed a Form A subdividing Holy Family Terrace from Our Lady of Incarnation, which was purchased by Scarafoni Associates to be turned into apartments.

Tags: cell tower,   gift shop,   Planning Board,   wigwam,   

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