A pair of construction projects in the scenic town of Adams, Mass., have either begun or are about to get under way this fall, reported iBerkshires.com, a local online news source based in the northwestern corner of the state.
"[For] probably a good 10 years, Adams has worked in the areas adjacent to the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail to develop some pocket park areas that would include the Sail Park, down by Depot and Pleasant streets, and the train station area on Hoosac Street," Adams Town Administrator Jay Green told digital news service earlier in September.
He added that building crews are working their way to the north from those parts of the downtown into an area where the focus is currently on creating a pocket park at 1 Cook St., located at the former Hoosac Valley Coal & Grain property.
The park was designed by Wagner Hodgson Landscape Architects in Burlington, Vt., while DF Lane Landscaping Inc., from Lenox, Mass., was hired to perform the site work.
When finished, the Cook Street park will have an off-leash dog area, event and picnic lawns, and access to the rail trail on the west side of the river.
"A lot of the relics from the original coal and grain site are remaining so that we honor that sort of background," said program manager Rebecca Ferguson. "A couple of tank saddles and some coal bunkers are going to stay in place and be cut into interesting things."
The park's initial plans had included a small building that town officials had hoped to reuse, she said, but after assessing it, the architects recommended that it be removed. However, the foundation of the building will be retained and covered.
"It may allow us in the future to achieve the vision of some type of band shell, or a similar structure, by doing that," explained Ferguson. "Just because the surface building's gone doesn't necessarily mean it will always be that way. It allows us to be flexible."
The bulk of the work is expected to be completed by the end of the year with some final touches in the spring.
Adams Wants Partner to Help Fund Old Building's Upgrade
The old coal and grain building, erected in 1902, had originally been envisioned as central to the new pocket park but the cost of stabilizing and upgrading the structure was estimated to cost nearly $1 million, according to iBerkshires.com.
The town does not have enough money in its budget currently to do the needed work and, Green said, it is "not in imminent danger of falling down."
He noted that the larger building that contained the coal and grain elevators will be secured for the time being as there has been no formal decision on what to do with it.
If Adams officials can determine a use for the structure, they could invest the next round of Community Development Block Grants to adaptively reuse it.
"If there's anybody out there that is interested in it and would like to partner with the town, we would love to hear from [them], particularly if there's dollars associated with that," Green said. "We're very open minded in terms of partnerships and what we can do with it. Having it come down, I would say at this point, is a last resort."
Adams took the one-acre site to claim back taxes in 2015 and used a brownfield grant to clean up the property.
New Downtown Street Work About Ready to Start
Another project in town — the reconstruction of Park Street and sidewalk work on Columbia Street — also is set to begin soon.
Bids for the project were scheduled to be opened on Sept. 28, Adams Community Development Director Eammon Coughlin said in speaking with iBerkshires.com.
"We're eager to get the project going and, with any luck, we'll be able to complete it later in the fall," he added. "We're going to work with contractors to kind of nail down the real construction schedule."
Town officials acknowledged there would be impacts for downtown businesses but noted that it should not be to the extent that it was in 2014 during another streetscape project. The latest effort will concentrate on 1,100 ft. of roadway along Park Street.
Green noted there were concerns about another frost/thaw cycle on the street this winter and having to spend money to repair the resulting cracks and holes.
Today's top stories