WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The new Williams Inn is set to open for business on Aug. 15, according to an announcement from the college to its community this week.
The opening will follow by two weeks the closure of the current inn on Field Park, which will shutter on July 31, the same announcement indicated.
In a follow-up email to iBerkshires.com, the college's associate vice president for finance and administration confirmed that the school still hopes to have Latham Street reopened in time for the town's Fourth of July parade, which traditionally goes from Southworth Street, up Main Street (Route 2) and down Spring Street, terminating near the public parking lot at the corner of Spring and Latham.
"The current plan is for all the road work and grounds improvement to be substantially complete in advance of the July 4th holiday and the roadway open for the festivities," Matt Sheehy wrote.
Spring Street south of the Walden Street intersection and Latham Street west of the Towne Field House parking lot have been closed to traffic since the beginning of the month. Road and construction work for the new inn has included the demolition of the former American Legion post at the bottom of Spring Street.
The new Williams Inn will open with 64 rooms and a 62-seat restaurant. The latter figure includes about 10 seats at the bar and two private dining spaces that will will hold 10 or 12 people each.
"In addition, during prime weather months, there will be additional outdoor seating," Sheehy wrote.
The inn will continue to be managed by the Waterford, Conn.,-based Waterford Hotel Group.
As for the two-week gap during which there will be no rooms at either the current 124-room inn or the new, smaller inn, Sheehy explained it is necessary to transition to the new property.
"There is a two-week gap, and this will allow for training, transition, etc. for the staff from the old inn to the new inn," Sheehy wrote.
The college believes that the town will have enough capacity to handle the height of the tourist season without either the old or new Williams Inn online -- particularly since the new Fairfield Inn by Marriott on Main Street (Route 2) should be open for business this summer.
"We have to have a transition period, and we feel that a two-week transition is manageable and appropriate," Sheehy wrote. "We feel comfortable with this approach since the new [Marriott] will be in full operation by this time based upon its current booking schedule.
"This will leave a minimal gap in the available rooms during this two-week time period of 20 to 30 rooms compared with last year at the same time. Once the new [Williams Inn] opens, the number of available room nights in town will increase compared to the current status quo.
"We also hope that this two-week gap results in business for other hotels/inns/motels in the region. We view this as a positive and not problematic."
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Residents repudiate neighborhood's racially restrictive origins in a commitment to inclusion.
In July of 2020, residents of the Williamstown neighborhood comprising Berkshire Drive, Colonial Avenue and Orchard Lane came together to address, in a united way, the racially restrictive covenant which was filed on the land records by the subdivision founder in 1939, and subsequently referenced in many of their property deeds. Though the racially restrictive clause had been deemed legally unenforceable (1948 Supreme Court Shelley vs. Kraemer), unlawful (Civil Rights Act of 1968 ), and void (1969 Massachusetts General Laws), a range of voices expressed the ongoing pain caused by the presence of the covenant.
To acknowledge and directly confront this racist history, its associated harm, and continued impact, and to clearly express this neighborhood's commitment to inclusion, both now and in the future, the neighborhood has taken the following actions:
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