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The Selectmen authorized negotiations with Mackin Construction to renovate the classroom wing of the Memorial Building into housing.
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The plans include 20 or so one- and two-bedroom units in the classroom wing, space for a restaurant in the front and continued use of the gym and auditorium by the town.

Developer Plans $11M Renovation of Adams Memorial Building

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Donna Cesan helps Michael Mackin show renderings of his vision for the Memorial Building at the Selectmen's meeting on Wednesday.
ADAMS, Mass. — The runner-up in the last request for proposals for the Memorial Building will now take the lead in the redevelopment of the 72-year-old building.
The Selectmen on Wednesday night voted to award the bid to Mackin Construction Co. Inc. of Greenfield, which plans to invest $11 million to build out 20 or more one- and two-bedroom apartments in the three-story classroom wing that parallels Columbia Street. 
The board's vote authorizes the administration to enter into negotiations.
Michael Mackin had continued to be very interested in the building the past few years and expressed his strong confidence it could become a point of pride for the citizens of Adams.
"It's not a simple project, but you have a great building, the building has some great bones but it needs some investment," said Mackin. "If you don't choose me, choose somebody else, do something with it because more it stand around and not in use. It's going to start costing.
"Right now we have an opportunity to develop it into something the town can be proud of and the citizen of Adams. They need something like this which will have a facility that they can use for seniors or the community."
Mackin will purchase the building and four acres of the property for $50,000 and then lease back the Valley Street entrance and the gym and auditorium to the town; the gym is currently the town's polling location.
Part of the deal will be to address the bathrooms in the town's portion that have been an obstacle to fully using the building.
"We have expressed to Mike what our capital needs are in order to finish out that space to use it for Council on Aging and for town meetings in the auditorium and traditional usage of the gymnasium," said Town Administrator Jay Green. "It's really the bathrooms that have been an issue. We have insufficient fixtures and sufficient number of fixtures to do that. Mike is aware of that need, he's fully capable of being able to assist with us."
Selectmen registered some hesitancy about leasing the building back but Mackin said his lender, TD Bank, had required him to control the building as collateral.
The former Adams Memorial Middle School was built in 1952 as a high school and was later an elementary school. It was closed in 2009 because of budgetary and building issues and reopened for a year during the renovation of Hoosac Vally High School.
The town had put out several requests for proposals over the years with little success. There had been hope that the more recent work done on the building — a new heating and ventilation system through Community Development Block Grant funds — and the passage of 40R Smart Growth zoning would spur interest.
Mackin had been one of three proposals for the property back in 2021 but the board had selected Rhode Island developer Wayland North based on its past work in real estate development. Mackin has been a subcontractor on residential projects including the St. Mary the Morningstar conversion by CT Management in Pittsfield and the Cable Mills project in Williamstown, as well as the $32 million Indian Motorcycle Co. building in Springfield.
Wayland North, which has been working on other projects in town, was unable to put together the financing to get the project done in the proposed three-year timeframe. 
This time, Mackin was the only bidder.
"I think you will find Mr. Mackin not only experienced and not only capable but enthusiastic about the building," said Donna Cesan, special projects manager. "That is exciting to me as somebody who has come to feel the Memorial School building, although it has some issues, it's a treasure."
Mackin is proposing to build under the state's 40R requirements and a percentage of the units would be affordable workforce housing. 
He told the board he's ready to get started immediately and already had a subcontractor lined up for a quote on abatements if the town voted in his favor. He's also working with the Community Development Office on a MassWorks infrastructure grant due in June. Cesan said there could be other grants the town could partner on to move the project forward. 
The proposal would be a complete renovation with new windows, doors, mechanicals, etc. as well as landscaping and parking. Energy efficiency and sustainability will be considered, with Mackin saying he is looking into solar as well. 
He had initially proposed an urgent care center in the building but now believes that need has passed and that a restaurant would be a better fit. 
Mackin estimated the build out at three years, providing local jobs, and about 10 to 12 permanent positions once completed. He told the Selectmen that it would be operated by a management company. 
"We were given a lot of information," said Chair Christine Hoyt describing the documents provided to the board as "thorough."
"I'm sorry I didn't vote for you the first time around but I'm happy that you felt confident enough to stay in contact with officials here in the community," said Selectman Joseph Nowak. "But I'm glad that you're back and I think that you will do a good job and I think you'll stay consistent with your work."
In other business, the board:
Approved facility use and entertainment licenses for Poppies Concession to hold a "Spring Fling" at Bowe Field from May 25 to May 27, all from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and facility use on Hoosac, Depot and East Maple Street on July 14 (rain date July 21) from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and downtown sign placements for the Adams Street Fair Committee.
• Appointed Timothy Rowley as temporary town clerk on Monday, May 6, as the town clerk is up for election this year and signed the town election warrant. Rowley, a member of the Board of Registrar of Voters, has stepped in for Town Clerk Haley Meczywor in previous elections.
• Opened the town meeting warrant and set the annual town meeting for Monday, June 3, at 6 p.m. at the Memorial Building.
• Authorized the Forest Wardens to provide mutual aid and accepted an invitation from the American Legion to participate in the Memorial Day parade.
• Determined the address of the Greylock Glen Outdoor Center as 165 Gould Road and the water tower as 240 Thiel Road. These addresses had been postponed from the last meeting because incorrect addresses had been posted.
• Interviewed two candidates for a seat on the Adams Housing Authority Board. The Selectmen will vote on the candidates at their next meeting.

Tags: housing,   memorial building,   

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Hoosac Valley Pupils Celebrate Memorial Day With Readings, Music

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Superintendent Aaron Dean, left, and guest speaker and new School Committee member Fred Lora. 
ADAMS, Mass. — Third-graders at Hoosac Valley Elementary School offered a patriotic salute ahead of Memorial Day. 
"They have been tasked with reflecting on Memorial Day and what it means to them with learning songs and poems to share with you," said Principal Erin Beaulac in welcoming visitors. "We're incredibly proud of all of their hard work."
The celebration at Hoosac Elementary was coordinated by teacher Marie McCarron, who led a similar event at Brayton Elementary School in North Adams for years.
Members of American Legion Post 160 formed the color guard and parents and guests including state Sen. Paul Mark and state Rep. John Barrett III listened to musical performances and readings. 
Maverick Pytko, David Plouff, Nina Naugle and Charli Phillips led the Pledge of Allegiance and Rosalie Lazzari, Olive Mastra and Bella D'Elia read a poem. Ethan Thompson read a history of Memorial Day, student essays were written and read by Christopher Kane, Remington Door, Annika Marko and Payton Hnatonko; and Colton Benoit, Connor Bak and Justin Mayotte and Rosalie introduced the speakers. 
Lexi Larabee, 11, sang the "Star-Spangled Banner" without accompaniment and the entire third grade sang "This Land Is Your Land" and a rap version of the Pledge of Allegiance. 
"They have put so many hours of work into this show," said music teacher Abbie Smith. "Because for all them this is new. Standing on stage in front of people is new to them. Sharing their words on a microphone is a new skill."
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