image description
A raised path will connect Spring and South streets in Williamstown.
image description
Plans submitted to the Williamston Conservation Commission show the route that the 1,400-foot footpath will take between South Street and Spring Street.

Williamstown Con Comm OKs Walkway Linking South, Spring Streets

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
Print Story | Email Story
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Williams College was given a green light last week to build a 1,400-foot long walkway that will connect Spring Street and South Street, creating a long-discussed connection between the town's main commercial hub and its leading cultural institution.
The Conservation Commission on Thursday reviewed plans for the path, which will utilize college property and cross "wet lawn, wet meadow … and wooded wetlands," in the words of Charlie LaBatt, the senior engineer at Guntlow and Associates, which did design work for the college.
Much of the 6-foot wide walk, which crosses Dennison Park Drive and Knolls Road, will be elevated above the ground, as much as four feet in places down to a more typical foot. The western terminus, at South Street, will feature a seating area, and the walk will include signage describing the native plants visible along the way.
"It's a multi-purpose program," said Rita Coppola-Wallace, the college's executive director for design and construction. "It's an environmental walk. We're going to have signage … explaining about the benefits of a wetland, how they benefit the environment. That's the main reason we went through a wetland.
"Many folks have been asking for a more direct route [from Spring Street to South Street]."
The town has talked for years about how to link Spring Street and South Street without requiring people either to drive or walk all the way to Main Street or cut through the densely populated Knolls neighborhood.
With the advent of the new Williams Inn at the bottom of Spring Street, the need for such a connection has become more apparent. And the most obvious vehicular solution — extending Walden Street, which currently runs from Spring to Hoxsey — has met with opposition from South Street residents.
"We're hopeful a couple of cars won't drive around [and visitors to the area instead will walk]," Commissioner Stephanie Boyd said during the discussion of the proposed walk on Thursday night.
The members of the Con Comm were unanimous in their approval of the project after adding some conditions related to environmental protections during construction.
But two residents addressed the commission from the floor of the meeting to ask it to put the brakes on the project.
Angela Russo of Knolls Road questioned the wisdom of a crossing on the narrow, curvy street.
"It seems silly to put a pathway across the road unless you're going to improve Knolls Road completely," Russo said. "People that drive up from Spring Street will come up the hill and around the corner. It takes your breath away watching."
Chairman Lauren Stevens thanked Russo for her comments but noted that traffic control was outside the purview of his commission. He recommended that she take up her concerns with Director of Public Works Tim Kaiser.
LaBatt, though, noted that the new crossing will be well marked and a strip of different material across the road will help give drivers a visual cue.
"As you go around that corner, we thought [the crossing was sited] at the apex of the corner where pedestrians could see in both directions," LaBatt said.
Roger Lawrence of 80 South St. brought several arguments against the project. He questioned the need for a connection between South Street and Spring Street, suggested there are potential routes for a foot path with less environmental impact and asked about potential leaching from materials that will be used to anchor the raised path into the wetlands.
On the last point, the town's conservation agent, Andrew Groff, told Lawrence and the commission that contemporary building materials do not have the same leaching concerns that they have in the past.
"Modern pressure treated material is highly regulated at the federal level," Groff said. "It does not present the threat it once did."
"Are you satisfied the material used at the quantity used will not leach to a harmful degree?" Lawrence asked the commission.
"Personally, I don't find it a troubling consequence," said Stevens, a founding member of the Hoosic River Watershed Association.
Lawrence framed his other two arguments by suggesting the Con Comm do a cost-benefit analysis, saying that, in his opinion, the environmental impact is too great for the potential benefit to be derived from a footpath.
Groff again weighed in.
"This [connection between South Street and Spring Street] is a long-standing community goal," he said. "The Planning Board has expressed interest in such a connection, as has the Chamber of Commerce and numerous other bodies for decades."
Lawrence's argument that there is a better route for the path was countered by the applicant, who noted that the route chosen takes advantage of the topography to create a path that maintains a slope of 3.8 percent or less throughout — which, along with the 6-foot width — allows for full accessibility.
Stevens cut short that argument, though, noting that it's the Con Comm's job to assess the project before it, not brainstorm alternatives.
"You're unlikely to get out of downtown Williamstown without touching wetlands," Stevens told Lawrence.
"If there are other routes that could be better, you're welcome to try to talk [Williams] into it, and the proponent will bring that proposal to us, and we'll rule on it. We'd like to act on this proposal."
The commission did shortly thereafter, adding conditions that limit the impact to the surrounding land during construction, which LaBatt said could begin as soon as this August depending on how long it takes to find a contractor, get a building permit and develop funding for the walk.
In other business on Thursday, the Con Comm approved the college's plan to replace a culvert under Dennison Park Drive and OK'd a request from the Hemlock Brook residents' association to trim some trees on the property that are on the bank of the brook.
1 Comments welcomes critical, respectful dialogue; please keep comments focused on the issues and not on personalities. Profanity, obscenity, racist language and harassment are not allowed. iBerkshires reserves the right to ban commenters or remove commenting on any article at any time. Concerns may be sent to

Mount Greylock Announces First Quarter Honor Roll

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Mount Greylock Regional School has announced its honor roll for the first quarter of the 2019-2020 school year.

Students are placed on the honor roll when their quarterly letter grades average a B or better, and when the student receives no grade lower than a B- in all graded classes. The student must be carrying a minimum of four graded courses to be eligible. Students who withdraw from a course are not eligible for the honor roll for one semester.

Grade 12

Gabriella Alvarez, Madeline Art, Miriam Bakija, Anthony Bossana, James Brannan, Tyler Canata, Barry Chhuon, Taylor Cornell, Elizabeth DeGraff, Khushi Devre, Julia Donati, Lily Edge, Sarah Egan, Brandon Fahlenkamp, Alexander Falk, Toby Foehl, Lucas Forman, Tarryn Gaherty, Brandi Gill, Logan Gould, Noah Greenfield, James Hetherington, Molly Howard, Julia Jammalo, Mitchell Jezouit, Joseph Jones, Jonah Kelly-Whitney, Saville Keyes, Natalia LeRoux, Aaron McKeon, Alexander Morin, Amelia Murphy, Ryan Narey, Nicole Overbaugh, Brooke Phelps, Charlotte Rauscher, Madison Ross, Grace Sanchez, Ciera Schwarzer, Anna Scott, Lucy Shepard, Malcolm Skinner, Brayden Smith, Emanuel Soza-Foias, Owen Tucker-Smith, Jaimey Vallieres, Xavier Vilaubi, Anna Welch, Finnian Welch, Spencer Zheng.

Grade 11

Dominique Auriemma, Delaney Babcock, Isabel Beauchamp, Aurora Bullett, Talia Cappadona, Croft Carter, Priya D'Souza, Briana Dowling, Nicholas Duda, Laura Dupuis, William Ellingwood, Michael Faulkner, Amanda Filiault, Samuel Garvey, Gabriel Gerry, Claire Hall, Emma Hayward, Madison Helm, Carolyn Jones, Isabella Kirby, Lily Lesieur, Oscar Low, Col McDermott, William McDonough, Charles McWeeny, Clarissa McWeeny, Victoria Melkonyan, Corban Miller, Julius Munemo, Erin O'Keefe, Leah Petricca, Alyssa Phelps, Joshua Polumbo, Benjamin Prescott, Jordan Rosier, Leo Rossitter, Jamieson Sanborn, Charlotte Sanford, Hazel Scullin, John Skavlem, Matthew Sorrell, William Starenko, Solomon Sutter, Mia VanDeurzen, Gina Wang, Malcolm Waynick, Ruth Weaver, Jacqueline Wells, Fiona Williams, Olivia Winters.

Grade 10

Zoe Armet, Henry Art, Adriel Benko, Saku Bergendahl, Edward Brannan, William Broadwell, Jillian Bump, John Cangelosi, Jack Catelotti, Cayden Conry, Josephine DeChaine, Maisie Dufour, Samantha Garzone, Ryan Goss, Jonah Hane, Luca Hirsch, Ava Howard, Simon Klompus, Rosario Larios-Sontay, Felicia LaRoche, Juliann Lawson, Madison Machaffie, Thomas Martin, Catherine McAllister, Eleanor McPartland, Jamie-Lee Meintjes, Sophia Mele, Troy Michalak, Livia Morales, Teague Murphy, Lukas Nordstrom, Derek Paris, Krishan Rai, Tashi Rai, Sarah Reynolds, Jamie Rhinemiller, Lily Rorke, Emma Sandstrom, Anna Schoorlemmer, Piper Schulman, Alayna Schwarzer, Mackenzie Sheehy, Ava Simon, Christian Sullivan, Katherine Swann, Alexis Toomey, Lauren Voorhies, Rona Wang, Anthony Welch, Malina Woodbury.

Grade Nine

Ainsley Abel, Bryn Angelini, Annabelle Art, Matilda Asch, Seamus Barnes, Elizabeth Bertolino, Matthew Bertolino, Henrik Bingemann, Elena Caplinger, Matteo Chang, Hannah Chase, Antoinette Dykes, Cailean Fippinger, Lainey Gill, Emma Gilooly, Emma Gray, Arthur Greenfield, Eamon Hetherington, Ezra Holzapfel, Lucy Igoe, Lily Jayko, Seth Lillie, Clarissa Louis, Elliot Louis, Isabella Mangano, Will Marsh, Emma Mathews, Patrick McConnell, Altan McIntosh, Emma Newberry, Liam O'Keefe, Zenalyssa Packer, Beatrice Pedroni, Sarah Polumbo, Christiane Rech, Juliet Robinson, Ernani Rosse, Andres Sanchez, Foster Savitsky, Noah Shin, Jennah Simpson, Kiersten Simpson, Jane Skavlem, Euphemia Skinner, Elizabeth Smith, Amelia Soler-Sala, Molly Sullivan, Rose Sutter, Samuel Tucker-Smith, Elissa Wong.

Grade Eight

Marlee Alpi, Ava Anagnos, Lex Anagnos, Thomas Art, Jude Bakija, Phoebe Barnes, Jude Barzousky, Liam Berryman, Mirabel Boyer, Jacqueline Brannan, Emma Brennan, Finnegan Carothers, Lily Catelotti, Sylvie Clowes, Lila Cohen-McFall, Angie Colandria, Makaylah Conrado, Julia DeChaine, Benjamin Dingman, Karlie Dowling, Noelle Dravis, Emily Dupuis, Isabella Garivaltis, Beatrice Garvey, Annabelle Gitterman, Julia Goh, Anabel Gonzales, Louis Gotlieb, Che Guerra, Emma Hane, Mia Harding, Phoebe Hughes, Jason Jaros, Talia Kapiloff, Faith Karl, Erin Keating, Ryan Keating, Jenner Kittle, Luka Lash-St. John, Svea-Marie Lawson, Cedric Lemaire, Caleb Low, Cecilia Malone, Grace Malone, Judge Martin, Lily McDermott, Quinn McDermott, Lucy McWeeny, Emily Mole, John Morales, George Munemo, Maggie Nichols, Emily Ouellette, Damon Pause, Gianna Pesce, Owen Petropulos, Alexa Politis, Quinlan Repetto, Declan Rogers, Celina Savage, Mason Sayers, Abigail Scialabba, Iris Semon Pike, Echo Simonetta-Trombley, Jasmine Skorupski, Parker Smith, Oliver Swabey, Jamie Sweren, Celia Szczepaniak, Macy Tidmarsh, Mitchell Waynick, Vincent Welch, Marcus Whalen-Loux, Grace Winters.

Grade Seven

Hope Abriel, MacKenzie Alcaro, Emily Alvarez, Marshall Baya, Jameson Bayliss, Jayne Beringer, Oliver Bingemann, Caelan Briggs, Claire Burrow, Miguel Camacho, Aleksei Chang, Nicholas Clairmont, Charlotte Coody, Olivia Cook, Ava Costa, Kaitlyn Dawson, Vera de Jong, Zoe Dupee, Brett Dupuis, Kaeya Durley, Mia Filiault, Ian Fredette, Soleigha Girard, Jacob Gladu, Katherine Goss, Brodie Hayden, Gavin Hetherington, Chase Hoey, Charlotte Holubar, William Igoe, Jaclynn Kastrinakis, Caliegh Kiernan, Noah Klompus, Malia Koffi, Connor Laliberte, Solana Lash-St. John, Eve LeBarron, Kelsey MacHaffie, Johnathan Mejias, Rafael Mellow-Bartels, Cameron Miller, Arthur Millet, Jake Newberry, Liam Noyes, Mai O'Connor, Natalia Palestino, Mia Patrick, Natalie Pesce, Jackson Powell, Erik Powell-Bechtel, Polly Rhie, Elias Robinson, Killian Scanlon, Katherine Shelsy, Simon Shin, Alec Sills, Ezekiel Singer, Christina Slick, Knowl Stroud, Kylie Sweren, Owen Taylor, Dylan Turner, Anna Wang, Cole Wetherell, Cael Whaley.

View Full Story

More Williamstown Stories