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The Visitors Center is getting a completely revamped parking lot that will better accommodate pedestrians and vehicles.

Adams Receives Visitors Center Parking Lot Bids

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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The Selectmen get an update on the project at Wednesday's workshop meeting.
ADAMS, Mass. — The town has received five bids for the Visitors Center Parking Lot Improvement Project.
The bids were opened Thursday and C&A Construction Co. Inc. of Ludlow came in with the lowest bid of $518,000 and DelSignore Blacktop Paving of Troy, N.Y., came in with the highest base bid of $761,632.56.
Clayton Davenport Trucking of Greenfield came in at $679,649, Burke Construction of Adams at $685,123, and J.H. Maxymillian Inc. of Pittsfield at $681,449.83.
The contract has not been yet been granted. The bulk of the cost will be covered the town's $800,000 2017 Community Development Block Grant.
Interim Town Administrator Donna Cesan updated the Selectmen on the project on Wednesday, the day before the bid opening, and said the $700,000 project will include eliminating the center median, installing a new entrance, improved drainage and more parking spaces.
Cesan said the plan is to install some sort of parking kiosk system and she asked the selectmen for their thoughts.
"I just wanted to get some feedback if board members think that a certain approach would be better," she said.
Cesan said her department has looked at systems similar to Pittsfield where the user enters the license plate number into the kiosk, or uses the app, and the parking enforcement officer is able to scan license plates to determine if a car has gone over its allotted time.
Cesan felt that this would be overkill for the single parking lot and suggested a system in which a kiosk prints out a ticket that is placed on the parker's dashboard or a numbered lot system.
"It is doubtful that we will have enough spaces to warrant that level even though it would be nice," she said. "It would be technologically proficient and easy to use I just don't think we need something that sophisticated."
Selectman Joseph Nowak said he liked the idea of a kiosk because parking lot users can use debit/credit cards as well as cash. He added that the kiosk system allows for more flexible time inputs.
Cesan agreed and said the more the town is willing to pay, the more features the machines will have. She said some kiosks take coins as well as bills and some even allow parkers to use a mobile app that lets them add time to the meter remotely.
Nowak didn't know what to recommend because the Police Department rarely checks the meters and the town does not have a baseline.
"We haven't been good at collecting fees from our meters, so we don't really have a parameter to work form to see what we have been making," he said. "It makes it difficult to assess what we should do and what amount we should pay."
He added that he had concerns about the Council on Aging and the doctors' building that use the lot and thought it may be worthwhile to work out an agreement with the organizations and designate parking spots. 
Cesan agreed that it may be worthwhile to look at options for businesses whose employees use the lot but felt that the fee should not be too much of a burden for those stopping at the Council on Aging, the the Adams Internists or other surrounding businesses.
"Keep in mind how much we are talking about. Right now, I think we are 25 cents for an hour so we are talking about a dollar," Cesan said. "Certainly, if they are going to Pittsfield or North Adams they are paying for parking."
Nowak said he understood Cesan's point but felt residents would only feel as though the town was trying to get more money out of them.
Cesan noted that it is quite the contrary and metered parking's main purpose is to regulate parking.
"The reason you charge for parking is not to make revenue it is to keep that commodity being used so there is not an incentive," she said. "If people think it doesn't cost a thing they will stay there all day. This keeps it moving."
Nowak said if these kiosks are installed, the town has to do a better job at checking the meters and Cesan said with the to-be-hired parking enforcement officer, the town will do a better job.
Cesan said the Department of Public Works has already started in-kind work at the parking lot and once the contract is awarded construction can commence. She added that the kiosk decision does not have to be made right away.
She said construction on the lot will cause some parking difficulties and there will be a public meeting, so residents can air their concerns and make contact with the contractor.
Cesan said it is possible to phase the project and allow some use of the lot. She added that she also plans to reach out to the owner of the former Waverly mill on Hoosac Street to see if the town can use its gravel lot during the summer.

Tags: CDBG,   parking meters,   visitors center,   

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Adams Altering Two Precincts to Reflect Changes in Population

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — The Selectmen last week voted to alter Precincts 2 and 3 to better match population. This won't change the number of town meeting members but it will change the voting precinct for one.
Town Clerk Haley Meczywor presented new Census data to the board Wednesday and said with a decrease of 299 residents over a 10-year period, the state has recommended that the town change the borders of the two precincts.
"In order to make our precincts as equal as possible, the state is recommended that we make a minor change from Precinct 3 to Precinct 2," she said.
The last Census was done in 2010. Then, the population count was 8,485. In 2020, the count was 8,166 — a 299 decrease. 
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