Adams Officials Approve Coal and Grain Park Project
ADAMS, Mass.—The Select Board on Wednesday approved plans for the proposed Coal and Grain Park on Cook Avenue. The park, which is part of a package deal with low-income housing grants and funded by federal Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), has been in the works since 2017.
"I think this is just another step in the right direction," said Selectman Joseph Nowak while the Board deliberated during the public hearing. "I hope we can get what we're looking for."
The proposed park will abut the Ashuwilticook Rail Trail and will have as one of its central features the Coal and Grain Elevator building. The historic building was used to store coal and grain, but now sits as a relic off Columbia Street.
The park will cost $411,000, including more than $30,000 for an accessible ramp that connects to the rail trail. Selectman Richard Blanchard expressed concern about this cost, especially in light of the Department of Community Development's recent realization that it had access to only $800,000 in grant funding.
Previously, the department thought the town would be eligible for $1.35 million in grant funding. "We're back to the drawing board," said the department's director, Eamonn Coughlin, at the time.
Before it learned of the reduced funding, the department had planned on incorporating the historic building more directly into the park's design. In order to do that, however, a study would have to be done of building's stability. The cost of this study was incorporated into the higher grant budget but was scrapped when the budget was updated.
Blanchard said he would have preferred for the $30,000 spent on the ramp — which is not an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirement — to be spent on determining whether the building was stable. He said he examined the structure recently from the outside and noted that there were holes in the sides that could cause safety hazards.
Despite this minor pushback, all members of the board unanimously voted in favor of the CDBG proposal. It also includes $240,000 for housing unit rehabilitation; $56,000 for staff costs; and $51,000 for administrative costs like accounting and oversight.
The board also invited representatives of the Adams Street Fair to present oversized checks to emergency services personnel. The Fire Department, Police Department, the Forest Wardens and ambulance service all received checks of $850.
Joseph Martin, chairman of the fair, told the town and the Selectmen, "from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you."
In other business:
- McCann Technical School and Berkshire Arts & Technology Public Charter School were both given the green light to host cross country running meets at the Greylock Glen during weekday afternoons in September and October.
- Town Administrator Jay Green announced that the L.L. Bean popup store will be at the Visitors Center this Saturday and Sunday from 10 to 4.
- Green also announced that the Poseidon Coffee Kiosk was constructed at the Visitors Center this week.
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