ADAMS, Mass. (Mass.gov) – Building on efforts to boost local economic development while expanding outdoor recreational opportunities, the Baker-Polito Administration visited the Town of Adams to celebrate $6.5 million in state bond funding released in May 2021 to support the construction of a new Greylock Glen Outdoor Recreation and Nature Center.
Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito were joined by Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Kathleen Theoharides, Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Commissioner Jim Montgomery and state and local officials.
“The Greylock Glen Outdoor Recreation and Nature Center has enormous potential to drive tourism, increase access to the region’s natural resources, and spur regional economic growth in a way that protects this landscape for future generations to enjoy,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Our Administration is proud to partner with the local community and advocates to support this recreation center, which serves as a great example of the types of environmental projects we are working to support through our plan to put federal COVID-19 relief funding to use in cities and towns across the Commonwealth.”
“Providing key funding for impactful projects is an important part of our Administration’s efforts to strengthen community bonds and expand recreational opportunities,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “We remain committed to building valuable partnerships with municipalities, elected officials and local stakeholders to support valuable projects that deliver significant benefits to our cities and towns, which is exactly what the Greylock Glen Outdoor Recreation and Nature Center will do.”
The 10,000 square foot building will serve as a hub for exploration within Greylock Glen and into DCR’s Mount Greylock State Reservation, an invaluable natural resource offering visitors scenic views, hiking, camping, mountain biking, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. Once complete, the building will be the first component of the Town’s proposed Greylock Glen Resort, a recreational destination development at the foot of Mount Greylock that is meant to attract visitors to the area, which will greatly benefit the local and regional economy.
“By committing this needed funding, the Baker-Polito Administration is marrying the protection and conservation of our natural resources with economic assets that drive tourism to Massachusetts’ rural economies,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “Residents across the Commonwealth have discovered an even greater connection with the natural world during the pandemic, and by working in partnership with the Town of Adams and local stakeholders, we are leveraging this renewed interest in the outdoors in a way that builds on the potential of this region and its environmental and recreational assets.”
The project, which is being designed by Maclay Architects with green building practices, sustainable operating plans, and native species landscaping, is likely to begin in 2021 with completion anticipated in 2022. The center will likely utilize solar technology to power the building and utilize high-efficiency building systems to ensure a clean, environmentally-friendly experience for visitors.
“Collaboration with municipalities to increase access to outdoor recreational opportunities is a key priority of the Baker-Polito Administration,” said Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Jim Montgomery. “Importantly, the center will provide visitors with the chance to participate in a unique Mount Greylock experience while enjoying the traditional beauty of the region.”
Since 2006, DCR and the Town of Adams have collaborated on the design and permitting of the proposed $50 million Greylock Glen Resort. The Town is currently working to complete permitting, zoning, and the necessary MEPA approvals. Between 2013 and 2015, utility improvements for the entire proposed resort project were completed. DCR signed a 99-year lease with the Town in 2014.
The Administration’s funding builds on earlier public investments. The MassWorks program committed $2 million for work on water and sewer systems and improvements to nearby Gould Road. Approximately $3 million has been invested in related site work. In addition, the Town of Adams has invested approximately $1 million in pursuit of the project.
“This investment in the Glen has been decades in the making and will contribute to jumpstarting the local economy through construction jobs, bringing long-term tourism and outdoor recreation dollars to the region, and maximize the massive asset that Mount Greylock represents,” said Senator Adam Hinds.
“I believe that this investment by the Baker Administration will be the catalyst which will further enhance the recreational economy of Northern Berkshire and Berkshire County,” said Representative John Barrett III. “With the support of Williams College and MCLA, it will become a leading learning center for environmental studies.”
In June 2021, the Baker-Polito Administration re-filed its plan to immediately put to use part of Commonwealth’s direct federal aid from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to support key priorities including housing and homeownership, economic development and local downtowns, job training and workforce development, health care, and infrastructure. As part of the Administration’s proposal to jump-start the Commonwealth’s economic recovery and support residents hardest-hit by COVID-19, such as lower-wage workers and communities of color, Governor Baker would direct $900 million to key energy and environmental initiatives, including $100 million for parks, recreation, and open spaces. These funds would support investments in public lands, as well as lands specifically conserved for public access including parks, lakes, rivers, trails, beaches, fishing piers, boat ramps, and other waterways. Funding would be dedicated to projects that expand, enhance, and modernize the Commonwealth’s park facilities to steward and conserve natural resources, and to improve the resilience of natural and working lands, plants, and wildlife in the Commonwealth.