WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Prudential Committee on Wednesday discussed the need to slow down in its quest to replace the Water Street fire station in light of the current state of the economy.
But fire district officials will continue to try to get their project "shovel ready" in case federal grant money becomes available to support infrastructure projects in an attempt to spur that economy.
Prudential Committee Chair John Notsley opened Wednesday's monthly meeting with a statement about the project.
"With everything that's going on in the country today, based on the current situation with the [COVID-19] virus, we are experiencing layoffs, business closures and a questionable economy," Notsley said. "I believe we should take, at this time, a slower pace with regard to a new station.
"That does not mean everything should come to a halt. But we should proceed slowly and methodically.
"Planning will continue, as the need for a new station is a must."
The bulk of Wednesday's meeting was spent reviewing the warrant articles that the committee will put before district voters at the June 30 annual Fire District meeting.
One of those articles relates directly to the planning process Notsley mentioned.
Article 6 on the nine-item warrant draft asks voters to OK a $20,000 appropriation from free cash to go toward "study, engineering, project management, architectural services, or other costs, including legal and processing fees, associated with the analysis, planning and design work" for a station at 562 Main St. (Route 2), the former so-called Lehovec property.
Treasurer Corydon Thurston noted that the district does have some carryover from past appropriations for design work, but it also is anticipating bills for consultant work currently being done by the Maguire Group.
"We gave [Maguire] a job four or five months ago," Ed Briggs told his colleagues on the committee. They're not going to push it anymore, but they've been working with [Guntlow & Associates'] Charlie LaBatt on site work. We're committed to do that … but I told them there wasn't a great rush."
Thurston noted that the district can begin the search for an owner's project manager without incurring any significant cost beyond the fee for advertising the position in the commonwealth's central register.
But some of the OPM fees, if incurred in fiscal 2021, could come out of the $20,000 named in Article 6.
"In either case, this article will provide support for any movement we have in the course of the year," Thurston said. "Again, it's from free cash, not taxation, so it won't impact the tax rate."
Later in the meeting, Notsley clarified his desire to keep the fire station project alive -- just not, perhaps, on the front burner.
"We're not dropping this by a long shot," he said. "It's just the fact there's so much out there right now. There's so much upheaval.
"I don't want you guys, or anyone, to get the impression we're giving up on this thing, not at all. It's just a little slower pace."
Notsley said he thought the district might be able to issue a request for services for an OPM as soon as July.
"Between now and our next meeting on the 10th of June, we should have a better idea of what's going on," he said.
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Williamstown's Foehl Scores Game-Winner for Williams Men
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Mount Greylock Regional School graduate Brady Foehl scored in the 67th minute to break a tie and send the Williams College men's soccer team on to a 2-1 win over Babson on Sunday afternoon on Cole Field.
Nathan Song scored early to give Williams a 1-0 lead, but the Beavers responded in the final minute of the first half to tie it.
But Foehl scored with assists from Tate Michelson and Keel Bressett at the 66 minute, 26-second mark to put Williams back on top.
Ben Diffley made four saves to earn the win in goal.
The regional school committee last Thursday heard preliminary enrollment data for its three schools. Although the official date to report a head count to the state comes on Oct. 1, the early numbers show significant increases at Lanesborough Elementary and Williamstown Elementary.
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The board met with a single-item agenda to consider its course in light of last week's directive issued by the Lee-Lenox-Stockbridge Tri-Town Health Department, which instituted a mask mandate for all indoor spaces and "crowded outdoor public events."
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On a vote of 5-2, the committee decided to direct the district's administration to have its architect finalize bid documents and conduct cost estimates in anticipation of putting to bid later this fall a project to install a synthetic multi-sport field and a track on the Cold Spring Road campus.
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The presentations at Richard A. Reuther Post 152 American Legion included a certificate of appreciation for each veteran's service and a unique handmade quilt and pillow case to store it.
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