Adams to Lift Parking Meter Enforcement During Holiday Season

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen unanimously approved the town's annual holiday parking enforcement suspension last Wednesday.

Between Thanksgiving and Jan. 2, anywhere with a parking meter will now have free parking. The on-street overnight parking ban, which the board voted to reinstate earlier this month, will still be in place during this time.

"The process is the same as always, which is we just instruct the police department to enforce controlled parking in those areas," said Town Administrator Jay Green. "It'll give the parking control officer a little bit of a break."

This year, according to Green, the meters will be covered with burlap bags, as opposed to plastic bags as in years past. He said the town is doing this at the request of Selectman Joseph Nowak.

"Last year, I brought that up because our town has a ban on plastic," Nowak said. "And I just thought it didn't seem right for us to be using plastic covers when we're banning plastic bags."

While the measure initially was supposed to begin on Black Friday, Selectman Richard Blanchard suggested Thanksgiving Day as the official start date to include the holiday. The rest of the board members agreed.

"Why not one day sooner," he said. "I mean, I doubt the parking enforcement officers going to be out there Thanksgiving Day."

In addition to switching to burlap bags, the town will decorate the bags to fit the festive theme of the enforcement suspension.

"And I can tell you that grounds foreman [Steve] Skrocki wanted to do something to jazz those up, to make them a little bit more holiday themed," Green said. "So he was attempting to put red bows on each meter as well as the burlap bags. He doesn't think he has enough, but he's going to paint them red."

• Also discussed at the meeting, the board unanimously approved a facility use request for Adams Holly Days, sponsored by Adams Community Bank, on Sunday, Nov. 28. The event runs from 2 to 6 p.m. and will feature hayrides, Christmas activities including the tree lighting and refreshments.

• The board unanimously voted to endorse a letter supporting the Forest Legacy Program. The program, created in 1990, is a voluntary program that provides grant funding conservation of privately-owned forests.

The board briefly discussed the release of calcium carbonate into the Hoosic River on Nov. 16. Green read a statement from the Northern Berkshire Regional Emergency Planning Committee explaining the resolution of the situation.

• The board went into executive session to discuss the potential purchase of property on 69 Park St., the former Red Carpet Restaurant.

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Adams Conservation Commission Approves Greylock Glen Outdoor Center Plans

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff

ADAMS, Mass. — The Conservation Commission unanimously voted on Thursday to approve site plans for the Greylock Glen outdoor center, pushing the project past one of its final hurdles before construction begins.

"There is the additional work with the Army Corps that we'll have to do, but then we're hoping we can actually move towards construction," said Donna Cesan, the town's special projects coordinator.


The board provided its full approval for the 9,200 square-foot facility, with the only condition being the plans include new plantings near Gould Road once construction is complete. The facility, designed by Maclay Architects, will feature a restaurant, classrooms and exhibit space. 


Before Thursday's approval by the Conservation Commission, the project received approval from the Adams Planning Board in September. The plan was initially proposed in 2009 and received $6.5 million in state funding that was allocated for it. 


In addition to the site plans for the outdoor center, the board approved the plans for the 350,000-gallon water tank that will support the site. The tank will be away from the main outdoor center area off the Thunderbolt Trail. 


"That will serve not only the outdoor center building but the entire $50 million resort project," she said. "Which consists of a campground, eventually a lodge, conference center and we hope to perform arts Amphitheater in addition to the outdoor center."


Gene Crouch, senior environmental scientist for Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc., said they will install power lines that connect the water tank to utility systems. He explained that sections of the power lines that go past the paved part of Thiel Road will be completely underground.  


"This is all going to be underground," he said. "So you won't have poles and things above ground through here where you don't have them now. From the paved [Thiel] road down, to get the power up from the power line going up to Greylock, this will be on poles, this will be overhead utility line."


Crouch said the wetland areas should be completely unaffected by the project, with the exception of an isolated wetland next to the water tank. He explained that construction workers will likely use this space for equipment. 


"They may not need it, but we want to give them the option to use that area for storage or lay down or something. Whatever they need," he said. "It isn't a big site. So the designer of this tank said he really needs something there to reserve for the contractor in case he needs it. So we've identified this as being altered, but we can restore it at the end." 


Selectmen Joe Nowak and Howard Rosenberg were present at the meeting. Nowak, a self-described environmentalist, said he was initially against the project when the planning began in 2009, but in the time since, he has come around and now fully supports it.  


"I'm all for it because I think the footprint matches it. And as a community, we're not going to see the big factories anymore," he said. "And the way that we can bring in interest to our community, both financially and outdoorsy, which I think is sorely needed within Berkshire County quickly. There's a lot of cultural venues museums, but there really isn't a center for the outdoors, and I think what that will do will make people coming to the area have another venue and prolong their state here." 


David Rhoads, chairman of the town's Board of Health, was present at the meeting to inquire about potential issues with the water supply and waste runoff. He said he is fascinated by the project and is looking forward to its completion.  


"I love the Glen," he said. "When it does impact us on the board of health, we will address it as needed. But at this point, I'm basically just looking at what is going on and where we could help, if necessary." 

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