The airport commissioners are considering specifications for the development of new hangars at Harriman & West.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The airport terminal is nearing completion and the contractor looks to finish work by the end of the month.
"The new building inside and out is nearly complete and it moving along," Administrative Officer Michael Canales said last week.
The vacant medical building donated to the city by Berkshire Health Systems was moved farther back onto the airport campus and is currently being renovated to serve as Harriman & West Airport's administrative building.
Completion has been delayed because of unforeseen insulation issues but Peter Enzien of Stantec Consulting Services said the contractor is pushing to be complete by Sept. 30.
As of right now, they are pushing to make that date in an attempt to get the [certificate of occupancy] by then," he said. "It is going to be a push because there are a lot of odds and ends."
He said if they do make this completion date, there will most certainly be a punch list.
The flooring is mostly complete, interior doors have been installed, interior paint is complete, siding is complete, and the roof is complete. The concrete patio is also nearing completion.
Canales said they have agreed to reuse and update the former medical building sign.
"We are looking at what kind of lettering we want to put on it," he said.
In other business, the committee approved airport user Trevor Gilman's request option to lease a plot of land on the airport campus to begin planning for a new hangar.
"All we are asking for here is to authorize the chief administrative officer of the city to enter into negotiations with Mr. Gilman regarding the construction of a hangar," Chairman Jeff Naughton said. "It gives Trevor one year to get all of his permitting and planning in order."
Airport user Michael Milazzo asked that the commission avoid committing to leasing any specific plot until the airport's new master plan is complete.
"The airport does not have a lot of extra space for future construction and I don't understand why we should give him a spot guaranteed where he can build his hangar," he said. "As long as it works out with the engineer, let him put it wherever he wants ... I hope he can build a nice hangar."
Gilman said options to lease have been executed in the recent past and he did not see a reason for the commission to change policy just for him. He added that it would be quite difficult to receive the proper permitting and begin planning without a specific plot of land.
The area he is interested in was included in a past master plan as a prime location for hangar development, he said.
"This as the only location for future development ... so it is a site that has been sited for hangar development for all of these years," Gilman said. "It is the only site currently allowed in the airport layout plan for hangar development."
Milazzo then pleaded that the commission should have in place something more incremental and feared land could be tied up for years.
Canales said the year's time does exactly this and an extension can only be given if it is clear progress is being made.
The commissioners said they did not have any hangar construction design standards on the books and voted to place a moratorium on all hangar construction until they pass some standards.
"Right now before any hangar is built anywhere on the airport right now ... we have to have some strict design standards in place," Naughton said. "So when they are built they are built to specs that we want. We don't want something going up that is not going to look good when we have this brand-new building about to come online."
The commission also voted to eliminate tie-down NE 2 for the time being.
The tie-down is located directly in front of a hangar. When it is occupied during the winter it causes snow removal issues.
The commission agreed that the hangar should be tied into the hangar lease and the hangar owners should be in charge of its use, however, with pending litigation among the hangar owners, the commission agreed to eliminate the tie-down until the owners sort out any issues.
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State Declares 'Green Friday' in Support of Local Xmas Tree Farms
UXBRIDGE, Mass. — The Baker-Polito administration has declared Friday, Nov. 27, as "Green Friday" to encourage people across the commonwealth to visit their local farms and nurseries for Christmas trees, holiday plants, and holiday decorating needs.
To celebrate, state Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux participated in a Christmas tree-cutting ceremony at Arrowhead Acres in Uxbridge. In an effort to support the commonwealth's Christmas tree industry, the declaration of Green Friday encourages people throughout the state to visit their local Christmas tree farms to purchase their trees, holiday plants, ornamental swags, and wreaths to fulfill their holiday decorating needs.
"Our administration believes in the importance of supporting our farms by shopping locally and purchasing holiday decorations from one of the commonwealth's many family-operated Christmas tree farms," said Gov. Charlie Baker. "Now more than ever, it is a great time to spend quality time with your family while partaking in this outdoor activity which allows for proper social distancing."
Christmas tree season in Massachusetts provides hundreds of seasonal jobs at approximately 264 Christmas tree farms on approximately 2,801 acres of land from Cape Cod to the Berkshires. The sale of more than 82,524 state-grown Christmas trees contributes approximately $3.5 million to the commonwealth's economy each year. Christmas tree farms, which are often sited on soils that cannot support other crops, stabilize soil, which helps prevent erosion and protect water supplies. When chipped, the trees can be used as a renewable source of energy to be burned as fuel, used as mulch, or composted.
The mayor's remarks were largely to remind residents of the virtual tree-lighting ceremony being broadcast on Northern Berkshire Community Television starting at 6 p.m., that City Hall offices will be closed Thursday and Friday and as will the transfer station.
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The hashtag "GetBackMass" is part of the latest public awareness campaign launched by the commonwealth. The focus of television and digital advertising will be to promote the idea that "normal" activities can only resume after the threat of the novel coronavirus has subsided.
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