Baker Hill Road District Gifting Lanesborough $150,000 for Police, EMS Building

By Brian RhodesPrint Story | Email Story

LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Baker Hill Road District has agreed to gift the town $150,000 for the purchase of land for a combined police and ambulance building, pending approval by taxpayer vote. 

The district's prudential committee voted to give the gift at its meeting last week. The Police Station Building Committee, which the Select Board formed earlier this year, has spent much of the last few months preparing with Architect Brian Humes for when a final site is determined. 

After finding a temporary space for officers in June, the committee expressed several issues with a new station at the former location, 8 Prospect St., eventually deciding to look at other potential options. EMS Director Jennifer Weber also recently joined the committee, as the group works to add ambulance services to the project. 

Committee Chair Kristen Tool said the $150,000 gift should allow the town to find a suitable property without creating an additional tax burden. 

"I am grateful to BHRD for their gift and continued work in supporting emergency services in Lanesborough," Tool said in a statement. 

Since the construction of the mall in 1989, the Town and District have had a Police and Fire Services contract, through which the district makes an annual payment to cover the added costs of having the Berkshire Mall facility in Lanesborough. As a result of the recent sale of the Berkshire Mall, the district has recovered all unpaid taxes and a significant interest payment assessed on the delinquent tax.

In a statement, the district said it is proud to continue to partner with and strengthen its relationship with the community and public safety officials in town.


Tags: ambulance service,   Berkshire Mall,   police station,   

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Lanesborough Planning Board Member Flagged By Ethics Commission

Staff Reports
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The State Ethics Commission's Enforcement Division issued an Order to Show Cause Wednesday alleging that Lanesborough Economic Development Committee Chair and Planning Board member Barbara Davis-Hassan violated the Conflict of Interest Law by representing Berkshire Mall owner Durga Property Holdings, Inc. (Durga) in local tax and infrastructure matters and by participating as a Planning Board member in a proposal to rezone the mall.
While serving on these governmental bodies, Davis-Hassan privately had a marketing arrangement to sell the mall. In addition, Davis-Hassan allegedly violated the law by participating as a Planning Board member in a proposal to rezone a second property while privately serving as the listing agent for the property.
According to the Order to Show Cause, Davis-Hassan, who owns and operates Barb Hassan Realty, had an exclusive marketing arrangement to lease space in or sell the Berkshire Mall when she participated as a Planning Board member in a proposal to rezone the mall property to facilitate redevelopment. After Lanesborough Town Meeting approved the rezoning, the mall sold in July 2022 for $8 million and Davis-Hassan received a $240,000 commission on the sale.
In 2019 and 2020, according to the Order, Davis-Hassan appeared on behalf of Berkshire Mall owner Durga before the Baker Hill Road District (BHRD), an entity created through a home-rule petition. The BHRD assesses and collects taxes on properties within the district, including the mall, for road maintenance and municipal services including Lanesborough police and fire services. In at least one of her appearances, Davis-Hassan asked questions intended to show the BHRD should be dissolved. She later, on behalf of Durga, sent draft proposals to the Lanesborough Town Manager to dissolve the BHRD, and communicated with the Town Manager and a member of the Legislature on behalf of Durga regarding the dissolution of the BHRD, the Order to Show Cause alleges.
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