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Carol Francesconi became chairman of the Board of Selectmen in Tuesday's reorganization.

Cheshire to Pursue Green Communities Status

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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CHESHIRE, Mass. — The Selectmen on Tuesday voted to become a Green Community and apply for grant funds to improve the town's energy efficiency. 
 
"The concerns I had were somewhat diminished," Selectman Edmund St. John IV said Tuesday. "I would like to move forward."
 
Last month, the board heard a presentation from a Green Community representative who spelled out the state program that the town can take advantage of if it adopts policies including the stretch code that extends the town building code to require higher energy efficiency construction. 
 
That policy caused the Selectmen pause, but after input from the building inspector, the board had no issue with the stretch code.
 
"I have no problem with it," Chairwoman Carol Francesconi. "After I heard the building inspector and the Planning Board were OK with it I saw no issues." 
 
Town meeting still has to approve the agreement.
 
In other business, Selectman Robert Ciskowski asked if the Hutchinson Water System could operate as a possible backup system for the town.
 
The owners of the private water supply had asked the town to take it over. The Water Department made it known earlier this month that it was not interested.
 
"It just thought, I mean how many times does a public water supply come up for sale in town," Ciskowski said. "I think we should at least look at it."
 
He noted that the Water Department officials made clear in the past that they were hesitant to give up one of the town's decommissioned reservoirs because they wanted a backup water supply. The already established Hutchinson System could be a better option, he thought.
 
"I think we all know it would be difficult to make a reservoir a reservoir again and, in an ideal world, if our aquifer was polluted I think it would be easier to just flip a switch and have Hutchinson feed into Cheshire," Ciskowski said.
 
He was not sure if this was possible but wanted to check with the Water Department.
 
Town Administrator Mark Webber said he would look into it.
 
In Highway Superintendent Blair Crane's report, he said he plans to apply for a Small Town Road Assistance Program grant that he hopes could provide some funds to improve Route 116.
 
"Since we have not had one in over three years, we have a shot at it," he said. "It's up to $1 million and may help us with our Route 116 issue." 
 
Route 116, which the town is responsible for maintaining, is in rough shape but Cheshire does not have the funds to overhaul the road.
 
Crane also said the town dock has been placed in the water.
 
"It is amazing people are already using it," he said.
 
With the town election earlier this week, the board also reorganized. Francesconi will now be the chairman.
 
The board also appointed residents Gary Trudeau and Christy Butler as co-Cheshire representatives to the Mount Greylock Advisory Council, the oversight board for the Mount Greylock State Reservation. 

Tags: drinking water,   green communities,   

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Cheshire Will Try to Accommodate Hiker Camping

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
CHESHIRE, Mass. — Town officials will apply for a special permit on behalf of Appalachian Trail hikers to accommodate camping on the Cheshire School grounds.
 
A proposal to place a camping site on the town-owned land came to a halt last week when it was found to be in violation of the town's zoning. 
 
After some research, Town Administrator Edmund St. John IV told the board of Selectmen on Tuesday that he may have found a way to establish a campsite for through-hikers on a portion of the grounds of the vacant school.
 
"I think last week was good to get all of that information out so we know what the issues are but just because there are issues does not mean that there is not a path we can move forward on," St. John said.
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