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State and local officials dig in a ceremonial groundbreaking of the $7.3 million Greylock Glen Outdoor Center on Tuesday morning.
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Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito says the Greylock Glen dream is coming true because of the many local people who believed and supported it.
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Selectmen Chairman John Duval says the town can't wait another 50 years to develop the glen.
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More than 100 community members and area officials attended the groundbreaking.

Baker, Polito Celebrate Greylock Glen Groundbreaking

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff
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Gov. Charlie Baker, whose administration has provided funding for the project, says it was 'a very long walk to get to this point.'

ADAMS, Mass. — Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and more than 100 local officials and residents attended a ceremonial groundbreaking for the Greylock Glen Outdoor Center, marking a significant step in developing the 54-acre property. 


"For us to have a chance to come out and celebrate this project, given how long people have worked on this and how important it is, to this part of Massachusetts, was important to us," Baker said at the ceremony on Tuesday. The state has committed $7.3 million to the construction of the outdoor center.


Preliminary site work began on the glen earlier this month after decades of failed starts on the project. Baker thanked everyone working on the construction and said he remembers having discussions of projects at the site when he was a cabinet member in the 1990s under then-Gov. Bill Weld. 


"We were all involved in conversations about a different vision, but a vision, for this property," he said. "... I just want to say I'm really happy to be here and I'm happy for everybody here whose been part of this very long walk to get to this point." 


Polito said the work going on at the glen now would not be possible without the years of work put in by local officials. She and Baker both said, as former members of their hometown select boards, that they relate to the time and effort put into the project by local people. 


"I heard earlier about dreams coming true, they don't just come true because there's magic and wonder. They come true because there are people who care about seeing those dreams become reality. And in this case, I feel the love and commitment from a lot of true believers that never gave up in this community," she said. 


State Sen. Adam Hinds was also present, saying the state's investment in the glen and other local projects shows it cares about resident concerns. He said people in the State House are becoming aware of the unique issues faced by Berkshire County and Western Massachusetts. 


"I just wanted to highlight that this project is just one more step to say, we have to step up as a state, we have to invest in our regional economy in our small towns, and if not, we're all going to face a major problem," he said. 


State Rep. John Barrett III said he has high hopes for the glen and thinks it can be an economic boon to the town, similar to Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams and Tanglewood in Lenox. 


"We've had six events here over the years, during my time as a county commissioner, and through today, this is the first event in which you can see something tangible here," he said. "And it's the beginning of a great legacy of this area and this community, because we're going to grow with it, and it's going be terrific


Board of Selectmen Chair John Duval said the groundbreaking for the project is no longer a dream but a reality. 


"I've seen this area, the glen, go through many different iterations and dreams and hopes, and many discouragements over the last 50 years," he said. "We cannot wait another 50 years to do this."


The town of Adams was named developer in 2006 by then Gov. Jane Swift after several private ventures collapsed for lack of funding or direction. Town Administrator Jay Green said both current and past town officials should be proud of getting to this point. 


"What the town of Adams decided to do in the mid-2000s is not normal for a small town our size, and I remind people of that often. That's what we've taken on, what the town of Adams has done and what the staff has worked on is not routine," he said. "It's a challenging project. It's a development project. We have more than $20 million worth of projects going on in the town of Adams alone and a lot of those have been funded with support from the people standing behind me." 


The center, once finished, will include classroom and meeting space, a cafe, concession and retail space, exhibit areas and a reception space. The entire $50 million development is proposed to also have a campground, a lodge/conference center and an amphitheater. 


Baker and Polito were in Adams a year ago to celebrate the original commitment of $6.5 million in state funding for construction. In January, the Baker administration provided an additional $2.8 million onto the $6.5 million in funding when bids for the center came in too high.


"We felt that the second tranche of funding gave us kind of an excuse to come back and do this once people put the shovels in the ground," Baker said. "... I'm really glad this project is getting done, I will definitely come back as a private citizen to see it when it's completed." 

Tags: Greylock Glen,   groundbreaking,   

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Kolis Family Celebrates 100 Years in Homestead Grandfather Built

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Grandson William Kolis, who grew up across the street, recounts some of the family's story at Saturday's reunion.  Behind him is his grandmother's 90th birthday proclamation signed in 1985. 
ADAMS, Mass. — More than three dozen members of the Kolis family stretching across at least three generations on Saturday celebrated 100 years in the home their dziadziu and babci built. 
Mateusz (Matthew) Kolis and Katarzyna (Catherine) Strzepek sought their futures in America in the early 1900s and found work in the mills. The big house near the top of steep Haggerty Street was built by Matthew Kolis as a home for their 13 children. Eleven of their children would give them 36 grandchildren and 57 great-grandchildren and numerous great-great-grandchildren.
"We lived across the street and my dad, like dziadziu, built the house we lived in," said William "Bill" Kolis. "For me crossing that street was like going to Poland. It was language I didn't speak, with people I didn't really understand."
Kolis said he's been looking into the history of the family as his sister, Gail Kolis Sellers, has been documenting the genealogy.
"In my mind, genealogy is the skeleton. We know where everybody is. History is the story and the story of this family is fantastic," he said. 
Matthew Kolis' shares a birthday with the nation he came to call home, though the July 4 date is a little iffy as its listed as his baptismal date. Bill Kolis, who was recorded as he shared the family story, said babies were usually baptized the day they were born because the death rate for infants in Poland was so high at the time. 
The family patriarch was 14 when he arrived in America in 1906, following his older sister, Zofia Kolis Les, who arrived five years earlier. The Kolises lived in a poverty-stricken region of Poland then under Austrian rule, and the massive textile mills here were recruiting thousands of workers overseas. 
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