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State Rep. John Barrett III addresses the Board os Selectmen after Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito dialed in to announce the state was releasing $6.5 million for the Grelock Glen project.

State Commits Funds to Build Greylock Glen Outdoor Center

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The state will commit $6.5 million to fund the construction of the Greylock Glen Outdoor Center, and construction is slated to begin in August.
The Selectmen were in for a bit of a surprise Wednesday and instead of discussing the wastewater treatment plant at a scheduled workshop meeting, they got a call from the lieutenant governor's office.
"I received a call from what has been long-awaited in Adams from Gov. Charlie Baker and he was kind enough to inform me that the Baker-Polito administration is happy to fund the development of the Adams Outdoor Center," Town Administrator Jay Green said. "That will finally realize a long-waited 60-year dream."   
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, who called into the workshop via Zoom, said she was happy to announce that the administration has committed funds that would mark the first development on the proposed 1,063-acre resort
"You are stewards of an amazing asset, and you have done a lot with the area," she said. "The trails the amenities have welcomed people from all over to see the beauty in the area of which you live and work. We know there is more we can do."
The story of the Greylock Glen's development goes back more than 50 years with many startups and letdowns along the way. 
Chairman John Duval actually pulled up a newspaper article from 1971 marking some of the first attempts to develop the Glen.
"It was a thought of many people who have never given up on this and what it means to the community," Duval said.
The Greylock Glen's recent history has had a tighter focus with the town more in control of a concept that includes a camping area, amphitheater, outdoor educational center, trail network, and lodge.
More recent developments include an overhauled trail network and completed designs of the outdoor center that would represent the first building on the complex. But the town has been in a holding pattern waiting for the state to release the construction funds needed to actually involve shovels in the shovel-ready project. 
State Rep. John Barrett III thanked the governor for realizing the project's importance for the community and its economy. He added that he felt it could be just as important as Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams. 
"This is just so special. I can't even tell you. I get emotional talking about it," Barrett said. "We have gone through some difficult times ... and it was a guy named Charlie Baker ... who has his fingerprints all over Mass MoCA and the governor has his fingerprints on this project that is as important to the area as Mass MoCA."
Polito thanked Barrett, members of the select board, and town employees who never gave up on the project. She said assets such as the Glen were important during the pandemic and will continue to be.
"People needed to go places with their families for well-being to just connect with nature and to escape the challenges associated with COVID-19," she said. "To be able to be in a beautiful place right here in your back yard. It was a real sense of relief and a real sense of support for a lot of people."
The projected opening of the outdoor center when it was first announced was fall 2020. This was obviously delayed and not at all hastened by the pandemic.
Director of Special Projects and former Community Development Director Donna Cesan, who Green said was pulled out of retirement to continue to work on the project, said the entire effort was collaborative and she looked forward to continuing to work on it.
"We are very proud of this project, and we have worked very hard on this," she said. "It does my heart good to see that we are all working together and that you can see our vision for this property and what it can do for the town and for the region ... we have worked hard for this and we are grateful."
Polito said she was excited to attend the groundbreaking ceremony with the governor.
Barrett took a moment to thank past board members who never got to see the project move as far as it has.
He then looked to Cesan and told her there is still quite a lot of work to do.
"This is going to get harder and you are stewards of this project and will make sure it gets done," he said. "The best words I can leave you with is 'never sell yourself cheap.' You didn't throughout this project and I tell you, you are going to build a fine project in this community."


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Adams Review Library, COA and Education Budgets

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — The Finance Committee and Board of Selectmen reviewed the public services, Hoosac Valley Regional School District and McCann Technical School budgets on Tuesday. 
The workshop at the Adams Free Library was the third of four joint sessions to review the proposed $19 million fiscal 2025 budget. The first workshop covered general government, executive, finance and technology budgets; the second public works, community development and the Greylock Glen. 
The Council on Aging and library budgets have increases for wages, equipment, postage and software. The Memorial Day budget is level-funded at $1,450 for flags and for additional expenses the American Legion might have; it had been used to hire bagpipers who are no longer available. 
The COA's budget is up 6.76 percent at $241,166. This covers three full-time positions including the director and five regular per diem van drivers and three backup drivers. Savoy also contracts with the town at a cost of $10,000 a year based on the number of residents using its services. 
Director Sarah Fontaine said the governor's budget has increased the amount of funding through the Executive Office of Elder Affairs from $12 to $14 per resident age 60 or older. 
"So for Adams, based on the 2020 Census data, says we have 2,442 people 60 and older in town," she said. "So that translates to $34,188 from the state to help manage Council on Aging programs and services."
The COA hired a part-time meal site coordinator using the state funds because it was getting difficult to manage the weekday lunches for several dozen attendees, said Fontaine. "And then as we need program supplies or to pay for certain services, we tap into this grant."
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