ADAMS, Mass. — The town awarded the demolition bid of 50 Commercial St. to American Environmental and plans to have the property torn down as soon as possible.
Interim Town Administrator Donna Cesan told the Selectmen last week that the demolition bid was awarded to the Holyoke company for $66,000.
"The town is able to award this contract and the town has worked with American Environmental in the past," she said. "They did a very good job for us, so we are very pleased the bids came in as they did."
Late last year, the town deemed the building unsafe and ordered owner Charles Ransford do demolish it within 30 days. He did not do this, so the town will demolish it.
Cesan said American Environmental was the lowest bidder out of seven. The other bids were all more than $100,000 with the highest being $153,000.
Cesan said the town has funds allocated for the demolition along with some unused funds from slum and blight removal. The century-old building sits at the south entrance to the downtown on heavily traveled Route 8.
Initially, officials were concerned that the bids would come in far above the $60,000 allocated for the demolition because of the inability to actually enter the building and conduct asbestos abatement. The entire building must be treated as hazardous and shipped away.
Cesan said a lien will be placed on the property. She added that Ransford also owes taxes on the property and the town may look at taking it after conducting a contamination study.
Ransford recently purchased the gas station next to Hoosac Valley Elementary School – a property the town looked at acquiring to expand parking at the school.
Selectman Joseph Nowak asked if Ransford would be able to open up a business there.
"I have recently seen him going into the garage section with tools," he said. "I don't know how this works but I don't think it is very fair that a gentleman can start a business after his record in this community."
Town Counsel Edmund St John III said without knowing specifics, he could not say for sure but believed the permitting process would be difficult for Ransford.
"There will be be a few hoops he has to jump through with permits ... there are a lot of things I think would have to be done," he said. "Then there is that sticky issue of not having paid his taxes."
In other business the Selectmen approved the Town Administrator Search Committee charged with looking over applications and selecting finalists to be interviewed by the selectmen.
Selectwoman Christine Hoyt said the personnel subcommittee recommended Teresa Daignault, co-owner and CFO of Adams Plumbing and Heating; Paul Goyette, teacher and former fire chief; Jeff Grandchamp, attorney and former search committee member; George Haddad, former selectman, interim town administrator, search committee member and business owner; and Leah Thompson, director of development at Berkshire Arts and Technology Public Charter School.
"I will be in touch with all of them very soon," Hoyt said.
The Selectmen also addressed a recent issue at the transfer station. A few Saturdays ago, the station had to close early because all of the bins were full.
"The bins were overflowing and a decision was made by the DPW that the best solution at the time would be to close," Chairman John Duval said. "In my opinion, it should not have closed and shame on us."
Cesan said the hauler was contacted and the town will work out a more regular pick up schedule.
She added it may be beneficial to have an auxiliary bin available for similar situations.
She reiterated that the Transfer Station is still fairly new and there are still improvements that need to be made.
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Suffrage Centennial Committee Kicks Off Yearlong Celebration
By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Correspondent
Cassandra Peltier as Alva Belmont Vanderbilt, a prominent figure in the suffrage movement.
ADAMS, Mass. — About 75 people filled The Manor on Saturday afternoon for the kickoff event of a yearlong celebration of Susan B. Anthony and the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote.
The event at St. John Paul II Parish's Italianate mansion was organized by the Adams Suffrage Centennial Celebration Committee. The committee serves as an advisory committee to the Board of Selectmen.
Anthony was born in Adams and was a social reformer best known for spearheading the women's suffrage movement. She was also involved in the anti-slavery movement, collecting signatures for petitions as a teen, the temperance (prohibition of alcohol) movement, and women's financial rights.
Retired school teacher Mary Whitman, committee member and host for the day, shared why Anthony's work was so important.
Only two candidates will be interviewed Thursday for the Adams Cheshire Regional School District superintendent position with candidate Martin McEvoy withdrawing his name from consideration. click for more
The Parks Commission on Monday took care of most of the fall requests for field usage. Four separate groups were represented and although a few issues cropped up, all requests were approved. click for more
Adams Conservation Commission praised the use of an organic herbicide on the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail.
At Thursday’s commission meeting members discussed the process that resulted in an organic herbicide being applied along the trail to knock down some overgrown vegetation. click for more