The Board of Selectmen review a memorandum of understanding with the Berkshire Scenic Railway on use of the Adams Station.
ADAMS, Mass. — Town officials are reviewing an agreement between the town and the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum.
The Selectmen looked at a proposed memorandum of agreement at a workshop meeting held the Monday before Christmas. The agreement would formalize the two parties' relationship in terms of the town-owned Adams Station on Hoosac Street.
"We are two parties who work on a project together but it is not a formal partnership in a legal sense but it is a partnership in every aspect," Director of Community Development Donna Cesan said. "We are coming together for a shared purpose and a shared mission."
The town purchased the former car wash several years ago and secured a $400,000 state Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities grant to renovate the exterior of the structure that now serves as the nonprofit railway's terminus.
"We transformed it into the Adams Station or at least made a very attractive shell," Cesan said.
Cesan said it is the town and museum's hope to turn the now "shell" station into a historic museum and location for the line's ticket counter.
"We always talked about how the station would become a true train station," she said. "You could get tickets, there would be exhibits about train history and how that grew the town. We are inching closer to that."
Currently, tickets are purchased in the Visitors Center across the street.
Cesan said officials have been working with the museum for some time now and per the agreement the town would handle larger costs at the Adams Station while Berkshire Scenic would handle day-to-day operations, maintenance, and sanitary duties.
"They agree to keep the space safe and keep it attractive," she said.
The larger more permanent projects such as new flooring or roofing would be owned by the town while more mobile items such as the ticket counter or display shelving would be owned by Berkshire Scenic.
Cesan added that the agreement would open up more doors for grant funding, which will be critical for the project’s future. She said specifically that the town cannot apply on its own for a Cultural Facility Grant that could go a long way in the interior renovation.
Berkshire Scenic President Tom Delasco said the museum is working with EDM architects to hammer out design plans. The estimated costs will dictate fundraising goals, he said, and because of this, the project will be phased. He estimated completing the project in three to four years.
Selectman Joseph Nowak said he hoped the museum will continue to be good stewards of town assets and Delasco said they are committed.
"Not only did the town invest money and time into this but so did Berkshire Scenic over the years," he said. "We are in this for the long haul and we will see this continue."
Nowak did have a concern about volunteer shortages but Delasco was confident that this would not be an issue. He said the Adams operation will be drawing from a different volunteer pool than in South County (where it operates a museum in Lenox) and Cesan added that once the station is complete, there will be an excitement in town that will attract volunteers.
The agreement extends five years and allows both the town and Berkshire Scenic Railway to back out.
Town counsel will review the agreement before the final draft is given to the select board for review. The chairman of the board will sign off on it in place of Town Administrator Jay Green because he is involved in the Berkshire Scenic Railway.
Green, who stayed quiet most of the meeting because of his involvement, only updated the selectmen with some numbers. This holiday season, ridership was around 2,500 passengers and was nearly 8,600 for the entire year.
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BArT Students Receive John and Abigail Adams Scholarships
ADAMS, Mass. — 13 Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter School students received John and Abigail Adams Scholarship
The John and Abigail Adams Scholarship provides merit-based credit toward tuition for up to eight semesters of undergraduate education at a Massachusetts state college or university. The scholarship covers tuition only, fees and room and board are not included.
This year's recipients are: Aiyanna Bellefeuille, Emma Danylin, Maya Gayle, Miranda-Ann Grant, Kyle Gwilt, Lindsey Gwilt, Olivia Jayko, Cameron Langsdale, Diego Mongue, Damian Nixon-Longdyke, Kassondra Stockmal, Charles Waltermire, and Molly Weeks
In order to be eligible for the scholarship students must:
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