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Interim Town Administrator Donna Cesan walks the Selectmen through some of the town projects Wednesday.

50 Commercial Demolition Cost May Be Higher Than Planned

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The demolition of 50 Commercial St. may be more expensive than the town anticipated because of the inability to test the structure for contamination.
Interim Town Administrator Donna Cesan walked the Selectmen through some of the town projects Wednesday during a workshop meeting and said the demolition of the former automotive garage may be more expensive than the $60,000 they wished to spend.
"I am concerned that the bid amount may exceed the $60,0000 so will have to evaluate that," she said. "I think there was a misunderstanding."  
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 because of the condition of the building, a licensed site consultant cannot go in and test the materials for asbestos and other hazardous materials.
"They test and determine what is hazardous and what isn't. That is typically what you do," she said. "They can remediate those parts we have to treat the entire building as though it is hazardous."
Cesan said it was thought that this would actually be cheaper, however, this is not the case because an asbestos site manager has to be on site the entire time and they must truck the entire building away.
She said the town may be able to catch a break after the demolition. She said the foundation can be tested and if no asbestos is found they may be in the clear. 
"When they take the building down to ground level then there will be testing by the project manager," she said. "If they don't find anything then we can leave that in place. If they do it has to come out …fingers crossed, we may get a break." 
Selectman John Duval asked if it was possible to recoup these funds.
Cesan said a lien will be placed on the property but the town may be able to capture brownfield funds for remediation. She said it would likely take some time.
New bids will come in Thursday afternoon.
Cesan added that she awarded the Hoosac Valley Rail Station platform project bid to Northern Construction of Palmer, which submitted the lowest base bid of $827,138.
Selectman Joseph Nowak said he has heard residents' concerns about the price of the platform.
"People have told me they just can't believe that price," Nowak said. "They think it is just going to be a wooden platform and they don't understand it is going to be state of the art."
Cesan agreed and said the project will contain fencing, landscaping and new lighting.
Nowak said the entire train station project has troubled some residents who do not see its value and believe the town paid too much.
Cesan said although the purchase of the former car wash now train station was nearly $190,000, the town only had to pony up $50,000.
"The town expended 30 percent of the overall project cost and to purchase the property was $190,000," she said. "The town's portion was $50,000 that is a bargain."
Nowak asked Cesan to bring up the platform at a future Selectmen's meeting so she can explain the details. 
Cesan concluded her project list with the Visitors Center Parking Lot Project that she hopes to put out to bid in early spring.
"We are putting bid documents together," she said. "We are just fine-tuning some details."
She said part of this is choosing what kiosks to install.

Tags: demolition,   train stations,   visitors center,   

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Elections Go Off Without a Hitch in Adams, Cheshire

By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Staff

Mike Kruszyna, seen with his wife, Karen, at the polls Monday, unseated incumbent Jeffrey Warner for a three-year term on the Cheshire Board of Health.
ADAMS, Mass. — Adams and Cheshire held their annual town elections Monday and despite all the changes necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, there were no problems reported at either polling station. 
The towns typically hold local elections on the first Monday in May but the social distancing guidelines implemented by Gov. Charlie Baker nearly 80 days ago forced them to draw up new plans. The towns are obligated to hold elections on the same day because of their shared school district.
Voter turnout was down in both towns, which could be attributed to the virus or to the lack of uncontested offices.
Cheshire had just two, the Board of Health, where challenger Mike Kruszyna unseated incumbent Jeffrey Warner for a three-year term (275-141), and a write-in campaign by Colin Haas that fell just short (195-173) for the Water Commissioner spot held by Mickey Biagini. There were 420 votes cast in total.
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