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Adams' Russell Field Cannot Be Used This Spring

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — Even though the Russell Field renovation project is nearing completion, no one is likely to playing on it until next fall.
Steve Skrocki, with the Department of Public Works, told the Parks Commission on Monday that, according to the contractor charged with overhauling the playing fields, the field should not be used this spring and summer.
"We are really going to have to think about the usage of fields and the clustering," Chairwoman Cindy Bird said.
DPW Director Robert Tober said the contractor has suggested that it not be played on until the fall so the grass has time to settle.
Also, there are still questions surrounding the new infield material, and Tober said they will not have a sense of how it will hold up until the late spring.
"The final call on that is still due," he said. "We will get a better idea of how the field looks in the late spring."
Bird noted this essentially locks softball out of the field and only football will be able to utilize it.
Skrocki said if it were up to him, football would not use the field at all.
"I don't want them practicing football, and I want to open up a dialogue about that," he said. "For the money we put into that field, football will kill it." 
Commissioner Scott Cernik said although he was open to exploring different options, he was under the impression that the field was designed with multi-use in mind.
Commissioner James Fassell felt the field should be open to all sports and suggested fencing off a portion for football practice. 
Fassell felt the football leagues should be invited to be part of the conversation before any decision is made. 
Bird said she would place the item on the agenda for the next meeting. She said she wanted to have the discussion sooner than later with spring field-use requests right around the corner.
If they decided against using the field, she said, the commission has to find new options for youth football.
This also goes for softball. Bird said the Lassie League will have to find a new facility.
She said the high school campus may be an option with interscholastic sports likely to be canceled because of the pandemic.
Tober added that this has to be kept in mind for all future facility-use requests. He said if public health data is not favorable, there may not be a spring sports season and that softball could very well be played in the fall.
"The backdrop to all this is that we don't know where we are going to be with this pandemic," he said. "... I think it is important that we get all of our ducks in a row." 
In other business, the commission discussed the project in general. Tober said the exercise equipment has been partially installed and work continues on the pickleball courts.
"There is a bit more to do," he said. 
The commission discussed a new scoreboard on the field and Skrocki suggested that the town purchase a new one.
"We can't get a new controller because of its age. The company is out of business," he said. "I think the only option is to buy a new one."
He said the current board is more than 15 years old, and a new board would run around $4,000.
He said they also want to prepare the field for new LED lighting. He said this is also likely to cost around $4,000. He felt lighting was a higher priority than a new score board.
"The field should have lights," Skrocki said. "It has always had lights."

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Cumberland Farms Presents Plans for New Adams Location

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

The new proposal has a slightly small building.
ADAMS, Mass. — The Conservation Commission applauded the plans done by Cumberland Farms so far and voted to reconvene on April 8 once its engineer has had a chance to review them. 
The Westborough-based convenience store chain had proposed to place a new store on Commercial Street between Elm and Prospect streets several years ago. The company ran into opposition in its first attempts to get through the permitting stage and withdrew its application in 2018. 
It has returned with a slightly smaller profile for the store and presented its plans on Thursday to the Conservation Commission, which has jurisdiction because of the proximity of the Hoosic River to the proposed site. 
The convenience chain is still proposing to demolish Al's Service Center at 95 Commercial St. and two other structures, all owned by Carol Ostrowski, and build a gas station/convenience store just south of its older location that will be closed. There also have been changes in zoning since its initial proposal, when it had to appear before the Zoning Board of Appeals for a variance. This is considered a new application.
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