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Roads Are Open to Mount Greylock

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Gov. Deval Patrick welcoming the public at the top of Mount Greylock on Friday, the second ceremony held for the road opening. Below, cutting the ribbon on Rockwell Road with local schoolchildren.
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The state's  towering "crown jewel" is open to the public after more than two years of road construction.

Gov. Deval Patrick, surrounded by pupils from C.T. Plunkett School and local dignitaries, cut a red velvet ribbon on Friday to reopen the winding roadways to the top of Mount Greylock.

"It's a wonderful treasure so make the most of it," said Patrick, who described Mount Greylock as the flagship of the state park system.

One of the largest road projects undertaken by the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, the $21 million project included reconstruction of some 13.5 miles in the Mount Greylock State Reservation first laid down by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.

Historic overlooks, stone walls and culverts were upgraded and restored, timber guardrails reinforced with steel installed, drainage systems repaired along Summit, Rockwell and Notch roads.

A very happy Berkshire Visitors Bureau President Lauri Klefos said the No. 1 question for her agency over the past two years had been "when are the roads going to open?"

Mount Greylock with its sweeping 70-mile views is a major draw for the Berkshires. The state's highest peak — at 3,491 feet — and its War Memorial draw an estimated 150,000 people annually and some 10,000 vehicles. The Appalachian Trail cuts through its wilderness. It's listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the state's oldest park, being acquired in 1898.

The opening ceremony took place the park's visitors center on Rockwell Road, with speakers DCR Commissioner Richard K. Sullivan Jr., state Rep. Denis E. Guyer (whose grandfather, Benedict Hess worked on the roads with CCC), state Rep. Daniel E. Bosley, Klefos and Barry Emery, chairman of the Mount Greylock Advisory Council. Also attending were selectmen from both Lanesborough and Adams and North Adams City Councilor Lisa Blackmer.

Serenading the crowd was the C.T. Plunkett Elementary School chorus from Adams, who later joined the governor in cutting the ribbon opening the roads.

Emery said afterward that the council had pushed for the reconstruction a decade ago because of concerns over the safety of the deteriorating road system. He credited Bosley and Guyer, in particular, in helping push the project through.

Berkshire Visitors Bureau President Lauri Klefos chats with Barry Emery, chairman of the Mount Greylock Advisory Council.
Sullivan said the project, with contractor J.H. Maxymillian, came in six months earlier than originally promised and on budget. The opening of the other two roads was almost delayed because of major tree damage done by an ice storm earlier this year. Downed trees can still be seen along the roadways and piled up at several sites.

Memorial Day officially marks the opening of DCR's camping season, which Sullivan said is off to a good start: Reservations are up 20 percent already this year, topping last year's jump of 13 percent.  

On Friday, vehicles packed into the parking lot and meandered along the freshly paved, winding roads through the thousands of acres that make up the state reservation.

Joan McFalls of Lenox was a frequent visitor to the peak, and recalled how deteriorated the road was the last time she'd ventured up the mountain about three years ago.

"This road is wonderful. It's so smooth, and safer," she said, sitting on a bench by the memorial. "It will be fun to come up here with my grandchildren and have picnics."

DCR Commissioner Richard K. Sullivan Jr.

The governor's dog, Zoey, accompanied him to the top.

Adams Selectman Michael Oullette, right, gives the governor a Fall Run T-shirt.
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Adams Hires Finance Director to Replace Retiring Accountant

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — The town has hired Crystal Wojcik as town accountant/finance director to replace longtime accountant Mary Beverly who is retiring.
"She is a remarkable young woman and thoroughly impressed her interview panel," Town Administrator Jay Green said. "In addition to the benefit of recruiting a younger generation into local government,  she is ready to take on this critical position and capable of it. She will represent the town well and will introduce a contagious energy in the role."
Beverly plans to retire at the end of the month.
"Mary Beverly has been a cornerstone – if not the foundation – for local government finance in Northern Berkshire for many years," Green said. "The fiscal policies and controls she helped develop and her budget acumen have made  Adams a very stable community. Her retirement is well earned."
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