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State Sen. Brendan Crighton, left, co-chair of the state's Joint Committee on Transportation, discusses the condition of the deteriorating Howland Avenue portion of Route 8 with state Reps. Paul Mark and John Barrett III.

State Transportation Committee Chair Crighton Visits Berkshire County

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — State Sen. Brendan Crighton, co- chair of the state's Joint Committee on Transportation, visited the county on Friday to learn about transportation inefficiencies in the region. 

 

"I've read about a lot of the challenges on the committee just as a legislator, but again, just seeing is believing," he said at a stop with lawmakers at the Bounti-Fare, where the recently paved state highway ends and the pothole-ridden Howland Avenue begins.  

 

Crighton explored transportation options Adams, Lenox, North Adams and Pittsfield with the help of state Sen. Adam Hinds, senate candidate and state Rep. Paul Mark and state Rep. John Barrett III. He also met with North Adams Mayor Jennifer Macksey to discuss infrastructure needs in the city.

 

The Baker-Polito administration has made $200 million in Chapter 90 funding available for transportation and infrastructure in FY2023, which Crighton hopes can help the Berkshires. 

 

"We did the $200 million for Chapter 90, then we added on a bunch of grant programs and stuff that hopefully have an impact out here," Crighton said.

 

Mark said showing the chairman issues in person and discussing them as the group went throughout the county was helpful.

 

"We made sure he saw, this morning in Lenox, rural transit options, ideas on micro-transit, trying to get the smaller towns hooked into hubs and figure out a new system because we've been lacking that," Mark said. "I really appreciate he spent time at the BRTA to understand how bus service is different out here ... And then really great to see him see firsthand some of the road projects."

 

Balancing the transportation needs of the entire state is difficult, Crighton said. The Lynn Democrat said municipalities often struggle to keep up with the cost of maintaining transportation systems, including as roads and bridges. 

 

"It's a very expensive problem to solve," he said. "Which is hard. It means having hard conversations ... Transportation shouldn't be on their lap. It needs to be a statewide system. And it needs to be funded in an equitable way." 

 

Hinds said bringing legislators to Berkshire County is a great way to help them understand the issues residents in the area face. 

 

"I think it's an important sign that Representative Mark is already engaging with senators and bringing them here because that is how we get things done. It has to be an across-the-state collaboration," he said. 

 

Mark said he hopes to get others to visit the western part of the state. 

 

"As we move forward, into the next session, that's going to be a key element of what I want to do in the Senate, is making sure that we're paying attention to the rest of state, but they have their eyes on us," he said.

 

Crighton said he was thankful to be able to visit and see the transportation problems in Berkshire County, noting it was the first time they had left the Greater Boston area. He said the county's representatives work hard to have their issues heard in Boston. 

 

"They're always advocating," he said. "They grab you on transportation issues; they're always pushing for their districts. But it's nice to see it in person."


Tags: Chapter 90,   infrastructure improvements,   state officials,   

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Preliminary Sitework Begins at Greylock Glen

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff

ADAMS, Mass. — Preliminary sitework for the Greylock Glen Outdoor Center has started, and town officials hope to have an official groundbreaking ceremony later this month. 

 

Town Administrator Jay Green said some tree and utility work has already begun at the site, with concrete work coming during the next two weeks. He said contractors, engineers, and town staff frequently hold meetings to discuss the project. 

 

"There's a lot of work going on with it. If people drive up there, they can see it. Please stay away from construction site for safety, but work is ongoing and we'll hopefully stay on track for an opening sometime in fall '23," he said.

 

Green said the town should also be ready to submit requests for proposals to operate the outdoor center's cafe and campground by the end of the month. He said the official groundbreaking should also be near the end of August and had hoped there would be a time where both Gov. Charlie Baker and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal could attend. 

 

"Unfortunately, we weren't able to get both of their days to align, so we're probably going to choose a date last week of August for the ceremonial groundbreaking," he said. "We'll do some invitations and see if we can get people to show up, but we thought it was important to be celebrated for an hour, among ourselves, that we're finally under construction."

 

The town is the developer for the 54-acre glen, part of the Mount Greylock State Reservation, and the state has committed $7.3 million to the construction of the outdoor center. 

 

"It's important for people to know who are using the Glen walking trails, particularly the the gravel trail, that there are periodic disruptions to that as the site work is beginning to encroach slightly in that area," Green said. "It's not always closed. However, there's essentially supervisors, construction supervisors working in that area to alert walkers that there is some construction going on."

 

In other business, the Board of Selectmen once again heard about property concerns on the corner of Summer and Hoosac Streets. 

 

The concerns were brought forth by resident Lisa Mendel several meetings ago. She took issue with the number of unregistered cars and the property's condition, which she said had been in disrepair for some time. 

 

The property owners, Lisa and Francis Biros, said the issue had come up in the past and town officials told them that covering the unregistered vehicles would be enough to meet compliance with the bylaw. The bylaw allows for one unregistered vehicle, stating that any further unregistered vehicles must not be "within view" of any public way or abutting property. 

 

Police Chief K. Scott Kelley said he sent an officer to check and found two of the cars are unregistered. Mendel alleged there was a third unregistered vehicle, which the Biros' said should soon be removed from the property. 

 

The board read the bylaw, 125-17, aloud to help clarify the situation and debated the meaning of within view. Selectman Joseph Nowak suggested Town Counsel Edmund St. John III, who was not present, look at the bylaw so the town has clarity for future incidents.

 

Green said he feels the wording does not imply a simple cover meets compliance, but understood that the Biros' may have been told differently in the past. 

 

"I think Mr. Nowak is correct, in the sense that, it would be nice to have town counsel look at it," he said. 

 

Building Commissioner Gerald Garner said he would handle the situation further, noting is not an uncommon issue in Adams. 

 

"There are families here that have six vehicles in their driveway, because they have children that vehicles," he said. "So there's six vehicles that are registered in their driveway and then you'll see one unregistered vehicle on the property as well. So this is not an uncommon thing in the town, or anywhere." 

 

Selectman Howard Rosenberg said he empathizes with Mendel's complaint about the property and supports whatever action Garner deems necessary to uphold the bylaws. 

 

  • The board ratified the hire of seasonal Department of Public Works Employee David Shade. 

 

  • The board designated Kelley as the authority to assign officers to town polling places. A recent change made by the Legislature gave this authority to Boards of Selectmen. 

 

  • The board approved a one-day liquor license for St. John Paul Parish's Polka Festival. The event will be at the polka grounds on Sept. 11. 

 

  • The board approved a one-day liquor license for the Fall Run on Sept. 17.

 

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