Cheshire: 2017 In Review
CHESHIRE, Mass. – The fabric of the community changed in 2017 with the closing of Cheshire Elementary School.
With massive changes in the configuration of the Adams Cheshire Regional School District, the town lost its community elementary school as the district consolidated to a two-school district.
Cheshire Students now attend Hoosac Valley Elementary, the former CT Plunkett.
Although consolidation discussions began years ago, the actual vote to close the school by the school committee came in March. Meetings leading up to the vote caused a clear rift between the two communities who both were fighting to keep their schools open.
The school committee voted down the town line, 4-3, which furthered the tension which boiled into the formation of Cheshire Community groups looking to take legal action against the school district or possibly joining another district.
Although tensions are still high, the communities have come together to amend the district agreement and are contributing towards efforts to rebrand the district and improve test scores.
Superintendent Robert Putnam, who spearheaded the consolidation, also announced his retirement in 2017. Putnam was hired in 2016 and served in the interim capacity. He was given the actual job in 2017.
The town also finished the Sand Mill Road Bridge in the spring of 2017, marking the end of a two-year process where the town used chapter 90 funds to partially repair the bridge the state closed because it was in disrepair.
The town saw more substantial road work towards the end of the year with the Windsor Road wash out in November. A storm washed out a difficult portion of the road and the town used chapter 90 funds to rebuild the road from the ground up, improving drainage.
These Highway Department driven projects came under the purview of the new Highway Superintendent Blair Crane, who was hired in April. Crane replaced longtime superintendent Peter LeFebvre.
The town was also introduced to a new selectman. Newcomer Edmund St. John IV filled the vacant seat left by longtime selectmen Paul Astorino who decided not to run for reelection.
New grassroots community events and initiatives also popped up in Cheshire this year such as the inaugural Cheshire Cheese Fest and efforts to become an Appalachian Trail Community.
The town also began planning for its 225 anniversary, which will take place next year.
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