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Gov. Maura Healey on a tour Thursday of Greylock Works, which has benefited from state and federal funding.
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Economic Development Secretary Yvonne Hao, center, speaks with state Rep. John Barrett III and Mayor Jennifer Macksey.
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Hao and the governor with Greylock Works owners Karla Rothstein and Salvatore Perry.
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Hao is a Williamstown resident and a Williams College graduate.
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Healey Makes Trip to Greylock Works to Announce $987M Bond Bill

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Mayor Jennifer Macksey introduces the governor. With her are state Rep. John Barrett III, left, state Sen. Paul Mark, Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Yvonne Hao. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The redevelopment of the massive Greylock mill into retail, artisan and living space has been boosted by millions in state and federal funding. 
 
And it was at Greylock Works, that Gov. Maura Healey chose to announce one of her first priorities — the filing of a $987 million bond authorization targeting housing and economic development. 
 
"We're here at Greylock Works because it's a prime example of the impact of the MassWorks program," said Healey on Thursday morning. "Greylock's received several millions of dollars from MassWorks over the years to support the renovation of this wonderful building and turn it into the vibrant place that it is with lots of great stuff going on. ...
 
"Greylock has been able to provide good jobs, with more housing for people in the community and spur economic development in the region. And these are the types of innovative projects our administration wants to support across the state."
 
The bonding authorization would continue the work of existing housing and economic development programs, make funding available for climate resilient housing and transit-oriented developments; funding for cities and towns; support for libraries, planning and tourism, and middle-mile broadband.
 
"One of the most immediate needs it will address is funding for MassWorks [a state infrastructure program]. This is the state's largest and most flexible source of capital plans to municipalities for public infrastructure projects," said Healey. "These projects support housing production, spur economic development and create jobs across the state. This bill has $600 million for MassWorks alone and extends its authorization into fiscal year 2028."
 
The governor said there were plans for a more comprehensive bill later in the session. Her administration has also filed a bill to authorize the state to borrow an additional $400 million to fund roads and bridges under Chapter 90 for the next two years.
 
The State Road mill owned by Karla Rothstein and Salvatore Perry has already become a gathering space for everything from dances to banquets to festivals. A number of businesses have opened in the Shed portion, including chef Brian Alberg's Break Room. The next phase of the project is developing about 50 condominiums.
 
Healey was last at the mill (officially) in 2016 as attorney general to deliver a brownfield covenant that would allow the work to continue. Unofficially, she was at the Break Room for dinner after attending Fresh Grass this past fall at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. 
 
The she and her team toured the construction area on the second floor and ended at a gathering space that had been completely transformed since her last visit. She had planned on stopping a couple other places (including former Gov. Jane Swift's farm in Williamstown) after lunch with Mayor Jennifer Macksey,  Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll and newly sworn in Housing and Economic Development Secretary Yvonne Hao at the Break Room. 
 
Macksey said she had great confidence in the new administration. "I am so excited for this upcoming year and many years to come," she said in introducing the governor and lieutenant governor. 
 
The new governor had stressed during her campaign that Western Massachusetts and the Berkshires would not be forgotten. Closing out the two-week mark of her term, she was back in the Berkshires
 
"It was very important to the LG and me and our team that we come to North Adams. We have said throughout and said on the trail that we will be a team administration that is about all parts of the state and that is certainly what this visit represents," said Healey, who was accompanied by . 
 
"I think for me, it is absolutely critical that people in the Berkshires and Western Massachusetts know that they have a partner with us know, that they have administration who sees you, who hears you, and who's going to work with you. And that's what it means to be a commonwealth."
 
The governor pointed to her new cabinet member, Hao, a Williams College graduate and former trustee and Williamstown homeowner, and said, in response to questions, that she was still filling critical positions in her administration. 
 
"We are committed to making sure we have representation from Western Massachusetts," she said. 
 
Hao, co-founder of private equity firm Cove Hill Partners, chatting with Macksey, state Sen. Paul Mark and state Rep. John Barrett III, recalled how she'd run the back streets of Pittsfield to find Onota Lake with the Williams track team and her feelings of home as she rounded the Hairpin Turn.  
 
Driscoll, former mayor of Salem, said the new administration feels a real obligation to the 351 cities and towns of the state. 
 
"We wanted to be in this particular region because you know, all the solutions are not the same for every community," she said. "There's a lot of things that can be done together but there are unique attributes and certainly needs that are different."
 
The lieutenant governor said they wanted to be aware of what's happening on the ground and partnering with local leaders and members of the Legislature.
 
"This is our first trip here as a team and it certainly won't be the last," she said. 

Tags: greylock works,   healey,   MassWorks grant,   

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Adams COA, Town Seek Funds for Memorial Building Bathrooms

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff

ADAMS, Mass. — The Council on Aging is still waiting to transition its programming from the Visitor Center to the Memorial Building and is looking to the Community Development Department for help. 

The COA has been waiting for additional bathroom facilities to be completed for the facility, but the council and the town have so far been unable to obtain grant or other funding for the work.

 

COA Director Sarah Fontaine said they are working with Community Development to find funds for the bathrooms and other small improvements, including increased entrance accessibility, renovations to the former music room and fixed windows. 

 

"I had voiced my concern. It's a very extensive list, I don't expect that it will all be done before we transition over. The only need is the bathrooms," Fontaine said. 

 

At last week's Board of Selectmen meeting, Community Development Director Eammon Coughlin said he looked into using Community Development Block Grant funds for the project. He said, however, that the Memorial Building is ineligible.

 

"The guidance we received from [the state Department of Housing and Community Development] has basically told us that the building is ineligible for funding because we already received funding in 2018," he said. "There has to be five years between the application for senior-center type projects. So based on that guidance, I don't believe Memorial School is eligible for funding."  

 

Fontaine also mentioned the auditorium in the building, which the town plans to renovate separately as a future capital project. 

 

"It would be nice as a senior center to have the auditorium available for guest lectures and other things like that," she said. 

 

Moving staff to the Memorial Building now while keeping programming at the Visitor Center, Fontaine said, is not an option. She noted that the Hoosac Valley Regional School District had previously expressed interest in using the second floor of the Visitor Center for its office space. 

 

"I was very firm in saying, logistically, it's hard for us to manage things just being upstairs. It's going to be very difficult if we're off site to try and manage programs downstairs," she said. 

 

In other business: 

 

  • The Council on Aging is looking for volunteers to fill vacancies on its advisory board. It filled one of the vacancies on Wednesday, appointing Barbara Ziemba. Ziemba, an active participant in the COA, had already filled out the paperwork needed for her appointment. 

 

"I have attended many COA activities, volunteer, and am a member of the Friends of the Council on Aging and attend meetings. I have been interested in being a member of the Board of Directors for some time. Please consider my appointment to the board," Ziemba wrote, explaining in her paperwork why she was interested in the position.           

 

The group also discussed two other vacancies on the board and potential candidates to fill them. Two members have been unable to attend recent meetings for health reasons. 

 

  • The board voted to approve updated bylaws. The bylaws were revised and written primarily by Board Member Elizabeth Mach. 

 

"I just wanted to make a comment, or rather an appreciation, for Liz for taking this project on," Fontaine said. 

 

The new bylaws have a provision to allow honorary members. Fontaine said there are currently no honorary members. 

 

The board appointed Bruce Shepley as the board's chair to replace Barbara Lagowski, who filled one of the now vacant member seats. 

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