ADAMS, Mass. — The town will hold a ceremony on May 12 to mark the official opening of the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail Extension.
Although many have been using the 1.2 mile extension from Hoosac to Lime Street, former Selectman Arthur "Skip" Harrington came before the Board of Selectmen on Wednesday and asked permission to hold an opening ceremony Friday, May 12, at 2 p.m. at the Adams Station on Hoosac Street.
"This couldn't happen until the rail trial was actually finished and closed out by the contractor and that will be happening shortly," Harrington said. "These things don't happen overnight. This rail trail has been going on a long time. It cost a lot of money and we had help from both the state and the federal government and we had the help of a lot of agencies and politicians to help push it through."
Harrington said the event will coincide with the Massachusetts Bay State Bike Group bike week and is a collaborative effort between the state Department of Transportation, the Berkshire Bike Path Council and Bike North Berkshire.
There will be vendors and giveaways as well as presentations on bike safety, the history of the project and the economic benefits of the trail.
"The idea is to disseminate a lot of information about bike safety and how to properly use the recreational facilities involved with the path," he said. "But also, this trail is an economic development vehicle and we have a number of speakers to emphasize that."
Harrington added that with the help of the Adams Arts Council, they will unveil a display of Adams in the station. The display is based on an old etching of the town.
"It's quite old and you can hardly recognize the streets and the rivers are different. A lot the buildings that are here are not there now," he said. "The station is pretty dismal in there right now it hasn't been painted yet. The outside is new but the inside is the same. This will greatly enhance that."
Construction on the extension has been delayed several years because of difficulties securing easements and plan changes to accommodate the Berkshire Scenic Railway that now runs alongside most of the bike trail.
Construction began last year on the more than $2 million state-funded extension and it was largely complete by snowfall.
Chairman Jeffrey Snoonian said he was excited for the event and that the trail is a true asset to the community.
"I live right next to it and it is used every single day," he said. "Every time I look out the window there is someone on. Every single minute of every single day."
Currently, the trail runs through Adams, Cheshire and Lanesborough but plans ultimately call for it to run through North Adams and into Williamstown as the Mohawk Bike Path.
Before voting to approve the event, the board asked Harington if he thought there was a community interest in helping maintain the trail. Although a state-funded the project, cleanup duty falls on the town's Department of Public Works.
Harrington thought it was a good idea.
In other business, the Selectmen opened the town warrant for the annual town meeting that will be held June 19. The warrant closes May 3.
• The Selectmen did not approve a National Grid easement to bring power to the transfer station's compactor and the shed.
Town Counsel Edmund St. John III said although not a big deal, town meeting should approve the easement instead of the Selectmen.
The transfer station was anticipated to open this summer but if the town has to wait for town meeting, it could put it off until next year. St. John said he would see if there are any alternatives to speed the process along.
• The board approved a reserve fund transfer of $5,000 to clean the air ducts at the police station that have not been cleaned since its renovation in 1997. Officers were complaining of bad air quality.
• Before closing, Snoonian who will not seek re-election, thanked the people of Adams for their support.
"It has been an incredible three years and sitting here has really been one of the great honors of my life," he said. "Sitting here as an outsider so to speak and to have support me the way they did was absolutely incredible ... thank you everybody in the town of Adams."
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