Greylock Glen, innovation center receive tentative state allocations
State Sen. Adam G. Hinds, D-Pittsfield, succeeded this week in winning a $2 million allocation in the Senate's economic development bond bill for a planned outdoor center at Greylock Glen. The project is the centerpiece of a scaled-down effort by the town of Adams to bolster commercial activity on the state-owned property.
The Senate's bond bill still must be reconciled with a version that passed in the House. And even then, the allocations it contains — worth as much as $12 million in Hinds' district — must be greenlighted by the governor's office. Unlike an "earmark" in a budget bill, these sums are not considered a lock for recipients.
Still, Hinds said Thursday the funding gives the Greylock Glen project priority for capital spending by the administration.
"The project feels like it's coming together," Hinds said.
In addition to the bond bill, which passed the Senate 37-0 on Wednesday, the Greylock Glen project could benefit from an environmental bond bill.
Two weeks ago, the Senate's environmental bond bill included $6.55 million in new or reauthorized monies for Greylock Glen. That amount was made up of $2.3 million in a new allocation, plus a renewal of $4.25 million that was never tapped but had been included the 2014 environmental bond bill, according to Hinds' office.
Other Berkshire County allocations in the Senate economic development bond bill include:
- $5 million to help the town of Lee advance development of the 200-year-old Eagle Mill. Developer Jeffrey Cohen recently adjusted plans for a hotel, housing and retail space on the site.
- $1.625 million to cover equipment purchases for the long-delayed Berkshire Innovation Center in Pittsfield.
- $1 million for the 1Berkshire Berkshire Blueprint Partnership Fund. According to Hinds' office, the money will help advance strategies to spur regional economic development. The money is poised to aid groups and programs in what's known as the Berkshire Blueprint 2.0. That document is scheduled for release this fall.
- $800,000 to support infrastructure improvements at the Gordon Rose Technology Park Pump Station in Pittsfield. Hinds said that work is needed to allow further development in the Dan Fox Drive area.
Though located outside the county, another allocation is designed to promote tourism in the region. Hinds said the bond bill includes $75,000 for the Gateway Hilltowns Visitors Center in Chester, a Hampden County town in the senator's district.
A Vermont architect is expected to finish plans for the Greylock Glen outdoor center by January. The town hopes to seek bids in the spring and start construction by late summer or fall 2019. Further funding is still needed.
Plans for the 60-acre tract west of downtown, in the valley below Mount Greylock, call for eventual private investments in a lodge with a conference center and a camping facility.
A Chicago consultant advising the town estimated at a presentation in June that if all elements come to fruition, the development will be the Adams area's largest employer.
"This will be a center of gravity," Charles Johnson said in a news conference in Adams Town Hall.
He estimated that if the plan is fully deployed, Glen businesses could generate $15 million a year in local spending and, in time, create 670 jobs.
Larry Parnass can be reached at [email protected], at @larryparnass on Twitter and 413-496-6214.