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Gene Crouch, senior environmental scientist Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc., presents the plans to the Conservation Commission on Thursday.

Adams Conservation Commission Approves Greylock Glen Outdoor Center Plans

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff
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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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Adams Firefighters Douse Blaze in Former Dance Studio

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Firefighters check out the first story of the studio and exterior access to the second floor. 
ADAMS, Mass. — The former Berkshire Dance Theater went up in flames on Wednesday afternoon. 
 
Fire Chief John Pansecchi said he had some idea of where the fire started but did not wish to speculate until the state fire marshal could confirm the cause. 
 
The blaze was contained fairly swiftly but there were a number of hotspots firefighters were still dealing with an hour later.
 
Firefighters were alerted to heavy smoke coming from the roof of the building shortly before 5 p.m. The second floor of the long-vacant structure was fully involved, according to images posted to iBerkshires' Facebook page. 
 
"The first couple of guys got here they pulled a line out. The first few guys that were here really worked their tails off," said Pansecchi, adding he was surprised how short staffed they were at first because of the holiday. 
 
Cheshire and North Adams sent help and Savoy came down to cover the station. Northern Berkshire EMS provided rehab. 
 
Firefighters were working in difficult conditions — hot muggy weather in the 90s and a torrential rainstorm that turned Commercial Street into a river right after the call came in. 
 
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