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The owner of the Mount Greylock Campsite Park is seeking a seat on the Board of Selectmen.

Hubbard Seeks to Bring 'Wealth of Experience' to Lanesborough Selectboard

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Gordon Hubbard is hoping to bring a wide range of experience to the Board of Selectmen.
Hubbard is the owner of Mount Greylock Campsite Park but prior to that boasts of a career in teaching, school administration, volunteer firefighting and as an emergency medical technician. 
He is looking to blend those experiences together to facilitate the vision residents have for the town's future. He is challenging Robert Ericson for a seat on the Board of Selectmen.
"I'm a retired teacher and school administrator so I have experience with governments and budgets and being fiscally responsible. I was a volunteer fireman and officer for five years. I also was part of two ambulance corps in New York State and also served as president, so I know about dealing with town budgets from the ambulance and fire departments perspective," Hubbard said.
After retiring from his career as a science teacher, Hubbard and his wife Pat wanted to do something different. The two bought the campground three years ago and built a home next to it. 
During his teaching career, he was hired by a district to help revamp the curriculum and said he reeled in some $700,000 worth of grants and was able to align the curriculum both vertically and horizontally. He said he understands billing and organizational issues that came with his service in the ambulance and understands the importance of equipment replacement for the Fire Department. 
He said he likes to take a big-picture look at things. For example, when it comes to fire engines he said the older the trucks get, the more the insurance premium becomes so he'd like to have a replacement program in place in concert with the fire chief's vision.
Hubbard said he'd take a "bottom-up approach" for all town departments. He said it isn't about his vision but rather facilitating the vision town department heads have, connect that with the long-term vision of the town, and help make it happen.
"The Selectmen's job is to help facilitate," he said. 
"I'm not going to sit there and think 'what's best for me or what's best for the campground?' It is what's best for the community. I can take myself out of the position of being a homeowner and a business owner, while keeping those in the back of my mind, and think about what's good for all homeowners in the town and what's good for all businesses."
How he's managed the campground since taking ownership is an example of his style. He said putting in Wi-Fi wasn't what he and his wife wanted to do, but it is what the campers wanted so they've done it and it has been successful. The campground is a little village itself with water, electricity, numerous campers with different wants and desires, and infrastructure.
"We found a lot of things that were negatively impacting its success that was easily fixed. We had an implementation list, we bought it, and we've done those things and since then our ratings have gone up, our bookings have gone up, and people are happy," Hubbard said.
Some of those projects include putting in a new playground, bringing in a forest manager, and replacing the pumps in the pool. 
"I want to do it once. I want to do it right because it is more efficient. It is a little more on the front end but you save on the back end. It is about that long-term vision," Hubbard said.
He likes that the town is seeking three options for the police station. The options are to fix the current one, build a new one, or buy and renovate the former Vacation Village property. The Vacation Village parcel and the five buildings have been touted as being the home to a police station, offices, and a senior center. 
Hubbard said it could solve parking issues in the long-term that the police station faces now and that the seniors do need more services. But, whether that will be the best option or not is still unknown. 
"It is good that they have three options on the table," Hubbard said.
For the senior center, he doesn't like the space it currently operates in Town Hall's basement and said an analysis of the infrastructure and staffing could find "opportunities with minimal investment" to bolster senior programming without having to take on a major infrastructure project. 
The cost of building those things is something that Hubbard said he'd be paying close attention to. He said the tax rate is too high and he plans to dig in to determine whether homes are valued too low or if the town isn't being as fiscally responsible as it should. 
The town's largest taxpayer, the Berkshire Mall, has been struggling and Lanesborough lacks a second strong commercial base. Hubbard said at this point the town doesn't really have much of a role other than some "pre-planning." He said if the mall does fall into the hands of the town, he'd focus his attention on how other malls were redeveloped.
Commercially, he supports the efforts undertaken by the Lanesborough Economic Development Committee. And he sees opportunity in solar projects. 
"It is a problem that Lanesborough does not have a lot of commercial," Hubbard said.
Hubbard said increasing the commercial tax base is important because services like police and fire are "fixed cost" in the town. 
"We're a small town but we need fire and police and all that at a certain level. It is a fixed cost. If we doubled our size, we'd have the same exact police force," Hubbard said.
Hubbard doesn't have the same history in town as his opponent Ericson does but he said that's a benefit. During his teaching days, he said there were teachers who stayed in the same school district and others who moved. When the new teachers came in, he said he was able to incorporate how others did it and get the "best of both worlds."
"We weren't sitting and doing the same thing over and over again. It allowed us to re-think it, bring in some cool new activities, maybe bring in some technology. The same thing with the Board of Selectmen. I come in with experience from New York. I come in with experience being a teacher, school district, business owner, fireman, EMS," Hubbard said. "I bring a wealth of experience from more of a global perspective."
Even with fresh ideas and new blood, Hubbard said if elected he wouldn't be a "bull in a china shop" but instead focus on listening, learning, and helping to get the town to the place the citizen's want it to be.

Tags: election 2019,   town elections,   

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Lanesborough's King Elmer Treated for Broken Limbs

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

The break can be seen in the center, where a hole in the trunk allowed a family of raccoons to take up residence last year. 
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — King Elmer lost part of his crown this week.
Once the tallest elm in Massachusetts, the more than 250-year-old tree is now missing at least 10 foot section from his topmost branches from a combination of a weak trunk and winds from Tropical Storm Isaias that blew through the region Tuesday.
"It is 107 feet and I think that was part of the highest section," said James Neureuther, chairman of the Lanesborough Tree and Forest Committee. "It's probably a little shorter than it was now. It'd be hard to know but we may have lost 10 feet."
That, he noted, was like losing a whole tree.
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