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The town had been eyeing the closed station as a possible parking lot for the school.

Adams Loses Out on Gas Station Property Next to School

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — Charles Ransford has purchased the vacant Commercial Street gas station next to Hoosac Valley Elementary.
 
Selectman Joseph Nowak shared his discontent about the recent purchase of the former O'Connell's gas station at the close of Selectmen's meeting on Wednesday. He wanted the town to purchase to the property to expand congested parking at Hoosac Valley Elementary School.
 
"I am very disappointed that we didn't get that parcel," Nowak said. "It was sorely needed and now we have a person that owns it that is just not going to do anything with it … we lost an important parcel for the school."
 
According to Massachusetts Land Records, Ransford purchased the former Mobile Station from O'Connell Oil Associates Inc. on Jan. 5 for $30,000. The property was one of five Berkshire gas stations O'Connell put up for auction in spring 2016 as it sought to exit that part of its business. But the station at 26 Commercial and two others, including one already demolished in North Adams, did not sell. 
 
At first, Nowak was hesitant to mention Ransford's name, but later attributed him to the purchase.
 
"It's been sold to somebody that isn't a great steward of his property and is well known in this community," Nowak said.
 
Ransford has a large portfolio of properties in North Berkshire and a mixed record of maintaining them. Although it is unknown if Ransford has any plans for the gas station property, he already has a reputation in town.
 
Just a few months ago, the town ordered Ransford to demolish an unsafe property on 50 Commercial St. he owns and owes taxes on.
 
He was given 30 days to demolish it because it was a danger to the public, however, he did not oblige, and housing court gave the town permission to demolish the former automotive garage,
 
The demolition will be on the town's dime, but a lien will be placed on the property.
 
Parking at the landlocked school has always been an issue and it becomes especially hectic before school starts and when it closes. Parking often spills into the adjacent McDonald's parking lot and Nowak noted the parcel is often used for students drop off and pick up as it stands now. 
 
Nowak said he mentioned that the property was for sale months ago to then Town Administrator Tony Mazzucco, however, no action was taken. Nowak noted that there was also hesitancy on the board itself with some members concerned with possible remediation costs.
 
He said he had spoken with O'Connell Oil Associates and the company had offered to gift the parcel to the town or transfer the property for $20,000 and remove the tanks.
 
Nowak said he was in contact with Interim Town Administrator Donna Cesan who was interested in attaining the property, but it was too late.
 
"I had Donna's ear and she was very interested in purchasing the property and I went humbly back to …the man who owns it. He is a great philanthropist," Nowak said. "The last time I spoke to him, he said the sale was pending but if it fell through he would give it to us."
 
Selectman John Duval agreed with Nowak that the town should have obtained the property and if the sale does not go through the town should act.
 
However, Nowak said it seems to be too late. 
 
"We have lost it and I am very disappointed," Nowak said. "It went down to the deed and we lost a good parcel and I am really sorry for us."

Tags: gas station,   municipal property,   

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Rascal's Picked For Cigar Lounge And Humidor

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff

John Sheerin explains his plans for a cigar lounge to the Board of Health.
ADAMS, Mass. — The former Rascal’s Lounge is being eyed for a cigar lounge and humidor. 
 
John Sheerin introduced himself to the Board of Health last week to present his plans for the North Summer Street building that he hopes will be a destination for cigar enthusiasts.
 
"For hundreds of years, local cigar lounges have served as a meeting place and common ground for both white-collar and blue-collar people to come together and spend a few hours together engaging in conversations and taking part in the time-honored tradition of smoking a fine cigar," Sheerin said told the board on Wednesday. 
 
Sheerin said cigar smokers are often banished to basements or back porches and there are no local establishments where enthusiasts can enjoy their hobby. 
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