"This is very important. This is ours and our hometown has a remarkable history and with this gift, the city of North Adams has the opportunity to provide the stability for the historical site of Fort Massachusetts," Wendy Champney, who has spearheaded the preservation effort, said Tuesday.
"Like the great defenders of the fort before us, it is now our turn to step up to the plate protect and preserve our proud heritage."
Mayor Richard Alcombright said over the past year, the city with the help of Champney, has been in contact with the Golubs, who still own the former Price Chopper lot on State Road. He said they agreed to carve out the .345-acre historical portion of the property and gifting it to the city.
"At the end of the day, Price Chopper with us for over 60 years, and they provided product, they provided service…and opportunity for people," he said. "Unfortunately, then needed to leave ... but from the first day they were receptive to having this conversation with our historical folks and my office in respect to Fort Massachusetts."
He added Golub's also gifted a 15-foot wide access to the area so if the lot is ever sold, the city can still access the historical site.
All that sits on the small grassy area that borders the former Price Chopper parking lot is a chimney left from a 1930s fort replica that Golub Corp. demolished in 1959 soon after they purchased property and to make way for what was then called Central Market.
Alcombright said in the future he hopes the Historical Commission and the Friends of Fort Massachusetts will be the stewards of the land but until then the city will treat it as a public park.
Councilman Keith Bona said he was concerned if the actual property is sold and developed, a new structure could impede on the park.
Alcombright said any developers would have to work with the Planning Board and it is unlikely that they would allow that.
The portion of land is believed to be part of the land where the frontier outpost sat and that East Hoosuck colonists defended in 1746. Forty-five colonists surrendered after being attacked by 900 French and natives of the St. François tribe under the command of Gen. Pierre Rigaud de Vaudreuil.
In other business, the council voted to allow the mayor to enter into an easement and agreement with Greylock Works, whose newly constructed lot abuts the city's sports field parking lot.
Alcombright said the easement would allow people access to the town's athletic complex parking and spill over into the mill parking when needed. Conversely, when there are events at the mill, parking can spill over into the city lot.
The agreement will be for 10 years and the city does not have to maintain the lot.
Greylock Works received a $2,176,341 MassWorks grant a year ago to redo the entry and parking lots on the east and south side of the sprawling structure. Greylock Works most recently received a $1.72 million grant to finish the parking lot that will accommodate 200 parking spots.
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