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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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MassDOT to Resurface Adams' Howland Avenue

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff

ADAMS, Mass. — The state Department of Transportation is set to resurface all four lanes of Howland Avenue in fiscal 2023, with work expected to begin in the fall. 


"We don't know the exact number; we do know that the scope is, essentially, just north of the roundabout, all the way up to the city line by Bounti-Fare," said Town Administrator Jay Green at Wednesday's Board of Selectmen meeting. "The methodology of the resurfacing is yet to be determined. MassDOT engineers need to come out and work with our DPW to do core samples to determine the condition of the roadway that's underneath the surface." 


The poor condition of Howland Avenue and other issues on the road, such as speeding and accidents, have become a focus for town officials. Green clarified that the resurfacing work does not mean the end of the Howland Avenue redesign project, which the town showed the first concept designs for in March


"The idea is to get us, at least, all the way through until we can reduce the road size and execute our master plan for that road, which folks know we are undertaking," he said. "Our engineers are studying collecting public feedback about it and tweaking that design." 


Green said work on Howland Avenue would not be possible without help, specifically mentioning Francisca Heming, District 1 highway director, and state Rep. John Barrett III. 


"We spent a lot of time strategizing, we spent a lot of time advocating and, as I said, those folks I think really came through for Adams," he said. "We'll monitor the project and we'll and keep the public informed. I think this is great news for the town and it's not going to affect any dollars on our end at all." 


The town's been complaining about the condition of the road for years, especially compared to the recently paved Curran Highway in North Adams. The state owns that section of Route 8 but not the road that runs through Adams. Motorists have been riding in the lefthand lane on Howland to avoid the potholes and cracks in the righthand lane.


In other business, Raymond Gargan Jr. of ProAdams updated the board on organizational projects funded by Rapid Recovery Program and state Office of Travel & Tourism grants. These projects include the wayfinding signs, which Gargan helped present to the Zoning Board of Appeals last month; new brochures for the town, web advertising and an updated website. 


"Berkshire County has a great tourism economy, but Adams doesn't get much of that," he said, noting they used as much of the town's existing brand and colors as possible in the designs. "... The idea was to try to leverage some of those attractions that we do have." 


The first set of signs, Gargan said, is expected to be completed and ready for installation in the next several weeks. Green thanked the work ProAdams and other organizations are doing with the town. 


"You're making a difference, and this community is ever so slowly evolving into the community that we know it can become," he said.

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