The former Youth Center building is deteriorating.
ADAMS, Mass. — The Adams Board of Selectmen voted at Wednesday's meeting to declare the former home of Youth Center Inc. surplus property in hopes of selling the recently vacated building on East Street.
"At this point [Community Development Director] Donna Cesan is requesting this process as it's likely to be sold," said Town Administrator Jay Green.
Those were Green's words when asked by board member Richard Blanchard if this step was necessary to issue a request for proposals for the third time.
"In this case, because we're a town structure, a declaration of disposition must be made by this board and because the value of the property exceeds $35,000 the town has to solicit proposals to dispose of it," Green continued. "We can't just unilaterally decide to sell it."
The rapidly deteriorating property at 20 East St. has been empty since the Youth Center Inc. moved its operation to the former Cheshire School that was closed as part of the district's consolidation in 2017.
Green said Cesan wants to have the RFP done by January 2020. Cesan will also be issuing an RFP for the long-shuttered Adams Memorial School by the end of November. The town has offered both schools for sale in recent years and received no serious interest.
When asked by board member Joe Nowak where Cesan will be listing them, Green said they are not quite at that stage yet.
"Let's check with her. I don't want to speak beyond my knowledge but I know that there's a specific website she will post that to," he said. "She may also post it with Realtors but that's just an assumption right now because we haven't gotten that far."
Bruce Shepley was unanimously approved by the board as a new member of the McCann School Committee. Shepley is a retired Air Force officer and registered nurse. He recently stepped down after many years on the Board of Health.
The recent hiring of Aaron Dean as the district's new superintendent of schools had opened up one of three Adams seats on the Northern Berkshire Regional Vocational committee. Dean started his new job in September and had to relinquish the spot he held for many years. The town listed the position and received only one applicant. Shepley will serve until the town elections in May. The winner of that election will then serve the rest of Dean's term, which ends in May 2021.
Council on Aging Director Erica Girgenti asked the board to ratify two new part-time van drivers. The board had no issues hiring Neil Crosier and Jolene Drosehn to the 19- and 10-hour positions respectively.
That wasn't Girgenti's only business, however. She is concerned a very popular tax service is in danger of being canceled because of a lack of volunteers.
"There is an urgency and a call to action for volunteers for our AARP Tax Program. It's an incredibly important program. The program itself is in dire need of volunteers this year," she pleaded. "It's actually under threat of closing down in Berkshire County as a result of not having enough volunteers. In Adams, already we know we are going to have to cut down to very minimal hours."
The program assists adults with moderate to low incomes in preparing their basic tax returns and also helps them identify rebates and tax credits. Last year, more than one thousand people participated.
Girgenti emphasized strongly that prior experience preparing taxes is not a prerequisite for volunteers.
"Volunteers don't need to be math wizards. They don't have to necessarily feel comfortable. They can be that person who says 'I've never filed my own taxes,'" she said. "There is a very great teaching program, a training program, a mentorship that happens through the program."
Those interested can call 413-743-8333.
That is also the number to call to take part in the Veterans Day celebration. There will be music and lunch followed by a color guard ceremony performed by Adams American Legion Post 160.
"We welcome veterans to come and join us. Just give us a call and let us know you're coming and we'll have plenty of food, a nice seat, and some company," Girgenti said.
• Brian Grande of First Congregational Church on Park Street told the board that the church will be serving a free Thanksgiving dinner.
"I'm here tonight to invite anyone from the town of Adams to our first annual free Thanksgiving dinner at the First Congregational Church. It'll be catered by me and my wife and we will have turkey all the way through pie," he said. "This is my first time doing it. I was born and raised here in Adams, went to Hoosac Valley, went in the Air Force and was a cook for 20 years.
"It's going to be a real nice dinner, no paper plates or anything like that. It's gonna be all china. We just wanted to give back to the town of Adams and thank God for all we've been given."
Dinner will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Those with any sort of social anxiety will be served after 2.
• Keeping with the holiday theme, the board approved facility use requests for two popular traditions. The Turkey Trot road race will be held Thanksgiving morning from 9 to 11. The 5k race is organized by the Western Mass Athletic Club and begins at the PNA on Victory Street. For those excited for Christmas, Santa Claus will be making his first appearance at Adams Community Bank's "Adams Holly Days" on Nov. 24 at the Town Common from 1 to 5:30 p.m.
• Green reminded everyone that although the new Reverse911 system will automatically contact landlines in case of an emergency. If you wish to receive text alerts to a mobile device you need to register online. That information can be found at Town Hall.
• Green also said officials listened to residents and decided to keep Town Hall open on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. It had originally scheduled to be closed. Town Hall will be closed on Nov. 28 and 29.
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Adams Votes for North Berkshire EMS
By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen on Thursday voted at the end of a 2 1/2-hour meeting to designate Northern Berkshire EMS as its primary provider of emergency services as of Jan. 1.
The vote was 4-0 and comes two days after the Cheshire Select Board unanimously voted the same.
Members and supporters of the Adams Ambulance Service asked the board to hold off on its decision but officials were not confident that it would be able to rectify its financial woes within a four-week timeframe. Or if the state Department of Public Health would allow it to continue operation since it had notified the DPH that it would close Dec. 31 if not earlier.
The service is also under a corrective order by the state for failing to develop a state-approved plan to prevent coverage from being disrupted. It has a deadline of Dec. 20 to comply.
"The Department of Public Health says we cannot move forward assuming that Adams Ambulance Service will be allowed to continue to provide coverage to the town," said Town Administrator Jay Green. "That is the context of the hearing."
Green stressed that Adams Ambulance is a private non-profit that is not operated or funded by the town and that the change in service provider does not mean it will cease to function. Rather, Northern Berkshire will be the first dispatched for 911 calls; Adams will still be part of mutual aid, will be able to take transports and continue to cover Savoy and Hawley.
Selectman Howard Rosenberg said the lack of information coming from the ambulance service over the past 18 months played into their decisions.
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