$125 Million Greylock Center Resort

$125 Million Greylock Center Resort

roger
roger

October 4th, 2000, 1:55 am #1

I'm not exactly sure where this stands. I saw an April 9 Boston Globe item noting that state environmental officials had endorse this (and quoted a $125 Million estimate).

I was tipped off to explore Greylock development after seeing a t.v. news profile of North Adams which has become a little silicon village after tripod.com was founded there.

http://www.tripod.com

One of the biggest developments in the past couple years is MASS MOCA (The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art which is billed as ``the world's largest contemporary art and performance center")

http://www.massmoca.org/

Does anybody have anything more recent on this?
========

A RESORT MAY RISE AT LAST
AFTER 15 YEARS, MT. GREYLOCK PROJECT IS NEARING ITS FINAL APPROVAL
Author: By Scott Allen, GLOBE STAFF Date: 01/12/2000 Page: A1 Section: Metro/Region
ADAMS - The woods are full of dashed hopes: the abandoned ski lift, the foundation of the unfinished hotel, the roads to nowhere. Dreamers long have imagined this rolling landscape beneath towering Mt. Greylock as a grand Berkshire resort, but they have been done in by the task of turning a fading mill town into a tourist mecca.
Today, Adams may be the last town still waiting for the "Massachusetts Miracle" that former governor Michael S. Dukakis promised back in the mid-1980s. Despite 15 years of state sparring with environmentalists and at least $12.3 million in state aid to develop Greylock Glen, all the town has to show for it are a gazebo and a couple of composting toilets.

But, this month, the bulldozers are drawing closer to the foot of Massachusetts' tallest mountain. After numerous false starts, officials at the state Department of Environmental Management are about to file final plans for a $119 million resort and convention center on 1,063 acres of state land, raising the possibility of groundbreaking by summer.

The proposed Greylock Center is much slimmed down from the Dukakis-era proposal that provoked a showdown with environmental groups, and today's champions are top Republicans rather than a liberal Democratic governor. Nonetheless, Greylock Center is shaping up as one last test of Dukakis's development policies, pitting progrowth forces against environmentalists.

"The support for this project in Adams has been unwavering and unequivocal," said Town Administrator James Leitch of Adams, whose town has lost a third of its population since 1950. "This is our town. Why can't we develop the land in an environmentally responsible way?"

On the other side, environmental groups are girding for a fight, retaining the law firm of Foley, Hoag & Eliot to pore over public spending on Greylock Center and to challenge the development in court if necessary. To them, the project is little more than state-subsidized suburban sprawl that will mar the view from the top of Mt. Greylock.

"We are subsidizing a resort development with millions of taxpayer dollars and public land while Massachusetts loses 300 acres of open space every week," said John Trimarchi of Adams, member of an antidevelopment group called Save the Glen.

Project supporters accuse activists of trying to refight an issue that Dukakis settled in 1985 when he signed legislation to set aside $8.5 million to develop the glen. They say that while the state and its private partners have tried to create an "environmentally sensitive" development, including 850 acres of conservation land and environmental education programs, their right to build is supported by state law.

Yet, even people who generally support development of Greylock Glen have been troubled by its management. They fear the project is fueled more by bureaucratic momentum - and support by Lieutenant Governor Jane Swift and Environmental Management Commissioner Peter Webber, both from Berkshire County - than any prospect for success.

These friendly critics point to several worrisome signs:

The Department of Environmental Management's own study found that there is no market for vacation houses in Adams, a onetime textile-making community that has never been a tourist draw. State officials say the resort will change that, but, for now, people don't even think of taking a vacation in Adams.

Christopher Fleming, the Boston-based lead developer of Greylock Center, admits that he is $15 million short in financing the project, mainly because of the risk associated with a planned hotel. He believes the money will be available once the project gets underway, but the shortfall makes nervous even boosters such as Representative Daniel E. Bosley, a North Adams Democrat.

Despite all the planning, state officials remain vague about key elements of Greylock Center, such as what kind of houses will be built or who will buy them. Meanwhile, the actual layout of the project has changed repeatedly, including 44 redesigns of the golf course alone.

These concerns have translated into brickbats from the local press. The North Adams Transcript called the project "half baked," and the Berkshire Eagle called it "suspect from the outset." At the same time, the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission has called for a better accounting of public spending.

Fleming, who has invested $1 million in the project so far, admits that he, too, had doubts about Greylock Center. Mired in a drawn-out effort to placate the project's critics with design changes, Fleming worried that the process was taking too long and costing too much, with no profit in sight.

But rave reviews for another much-criticized Dukakis initiative - the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MassMOCA), which opened last May in nearby North Adams - gave Fleming new hope. Skeptics doubted that art lovers would come to an isolated mill town, but more than 70,000 visitors have come so far, prompting celebrations in North Adams.

"Up until this past summer, I would wake up in the morning and say, `What the hell are we doing out there?' " Fleming said. "But then, when the news about MassMOCA started coming in, it settled all my fears."

Others agree that MassMOCA's success may have improved Greylock Center's prospects. Berkshire County's tourist economy is concentrated in the south, but MassMOCA gave tourists a reason to drive up Route 8 through Adams.

"I think there is a real possibility that [Greylock Center] could work; I wouldn't have said that a few years ago," said Ellen Cohen of Cohen and White, a Lenox-based real estate brokerage that specializes in upscale vacation houses. "I think people would be willing to go a little further north . . . so that they can say we live near the new museum."

For local residents, who have had the promise of resort jobs and tax revenues dangled before them since Alan Canter tried to build a ski resort in the 1970s, the current dispute seems all too familiar. They supported the project at every turn, but became fatalistic.

"I think it should be built, but I don't think it will be," said Donald Dellert, sitting in his Idyll Gift Shop. "It's been what, 20 years?"

Greylock Center was not supposed to be a replay of the contentious debates of environment vs. development that Dukakis' ambitious projects sometimes fostered. After the 1991 collapse of Dukakis's favored plan - a $220 million resort proposed by Heritage Development Group of Connecticut - both sides agreed to take a fresh look at Greylock Glen.

Environmentalists agreed that Adams, where young people have moved away by the hundreds as factory jobs disappeared, needed help to reach its tourism potential. Though the town boasts historic houses and an enviable location at the base of Mount Greylock, it lacks a hotel or even a path to the mountaintop.

Town and state officials, meanwhile, agreed that Greylock Glen is an important natural and recreation area that needs to be preserved, even as it is developed. The 850 houses proposed by Heritage were just too much, they acknowledged.

Out of this understanding came a 1994 master plan that called for a conference center emphasizing environmental and natural resource issues and for public facilities such as cross-country skiing trails and a golf course, but no permanent housing at all. Both sides declared victory.

But when the Department of Environmental Management sought private developers to undertake the project, all of them said they couldn't make a profit on the project unless they could build houses, too.

"The problem with the whole project from day one has been the Cadillac taste and the Chevy budget," said Representative Bosley. "We have never put enough [state] money into it to really build this out, so every developer has tried to turn to housing."

But Republican governors William Weld and Paul Cellucci have made it clear there would be no more big public investments in Greylock. At most, Department of Environmental Management officials say, the state could invest $3 million to $4 million more for public amenities and another $1 million for a road.

Lacking a bigger public subsidy, the state chose Fleming of Franklin Realty Advisors in Boston to develop the project after environmentalists agreed he could build up to 300 units of housing as long as it served an environmental purpose, such as housing people for environmental conferences or showcasing the latest environmental technologies.

Fleming now says that the houses, likely to be priced between $150,000 and $225,000, will be marketed as vacation homes to families who "can't afford to fly their kids to Vail for a ski trip." The buildings will be clustered in a village to conserve space, he said, and they will have to meet as-yet-unwritten environmental guidelines.

But environmentalists are disenchanted with Fleming, arguing that he is so eager to recoup his investment that he is abandoning their agreement. "This stuff they're talking about now is any kind of housing that anybody wants to put there," said Robie Hubley of the Massachusetts Audubon Society.

As a result, the Greylock Center plan, scheduled to be submitted this month for review by Environmental Affairs Secretary Robert Durand, has no more support from environmentalists than the Dukakis plan of the 1980s.

"It's a dumb project," said George Wislocki, executive director of the Berkshire Natural Resources Council, who nonetheless expects to keep fighting the idea "until all the [state] money is spent."

After all the work and all the disappointment of the last 15 years, town officials say the time for fighting is over, and the time for building has arrived. Although the jobs and the tax money will be great, Selectman Ed Driscoll said Greylock offers something even more important: a new beginning.

"I don't agree with Michael Dukakis on many things," concluded Fleming. "But, on this one, he was right."
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roger
roger

October 4th, 2000, 2:02 am #2

Here's more details and a map of the center:


http://www.williams.edu/go/CES/courses/ ... enter.html
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Mark Adam
Mark Adam

October 4th, 2000, 3:22 am #3

I'm not exactly sure where this stands. I saw an April 9 Boston Globe item noting that state environmental officials had endorse this (and quoted a $125 Million estimate).

I was tipped off to explore Greylock development after seeing a t.v. news profile of North Adams which has become a little silicon village after tripod.com was founded there.

http://www.tripod.com

One of the biggest developments in the past couple years is MASS MOCA (The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art which is billed as ``the world's largest contemporary art and performance center")

http://www.massmoca.org/

Does anybody have anything more recent on this?
========

A RESORT MAY RISE AT LAST
AFTER 15 YEARS, MT. GREYLOCK PROJECT IS NEARING ITS FINAL APPROVAL
Author: By Scott Allen, GLOBE STAFF Date: 01/12/2000 Page: A1 Section: Metro/Region
ADAMS - The woods are full of dashed hopes: the abandoned ski lift, the foundation of the unfinished hotel, the roads to nowhere. Dreamers long have imagined this rolling landscape beneath towering Mt. Greylock as a grand Berkshire resort, but they have been done in by the task of turning a fading mill town into a tourist mecca.
Today, Adams may be the last town still waiting for the "Massachusetts Miracle" that former governor Michael S. Dukakis promised back in the mid-1980s. Despite 15 years of state sparring with environmentalists and at least $12.3 million in state aid to develop Greylock Glen, all the town has to show for it are a gazebo and a couple of composting toilets.

But, this month, the bulldozers are drawing closer to the foot of Massachusetts' tallest mountain. After numerous false starts, officials at the state Department of Environmental Management are about to file final plans for a $119 million resort and convention center on 1,063 acres of state land, raising the possibility of groundbreaking by summer.

The proposed Greylock Center is much slimmed down from the Dukakis-era proposal that provoked a showdown with environmental groups, and today's champions are top Republicans rather than a liberal Democratic governor. Nonetheless, Greylock Center is shaping up as one last test of Dukakis's development policies, pitting progrowth forces against environmentalists.

"The support for this project in Adams has been unwavering and unequivocal," said Town Administrator James Leitch of Adams, whose town has lost a third of its population since 1950. "This is our town. Why can't we develop the land in an environmentally responsible way?"

On the other side, environmental groups are girding for a fight, retaining the law firm of Foley, Hoag & Eliot to pore over public spending on Greylock Center and to challenge the development in court if necessary. To them, the project is little more than state-subsidized suburban sprawl that will mar the view from the top of Mt. Greylock.

"We are subsidizing a resort development with millions of taxpayer dollars and public land while Massachusetts loses 300 acres of open space every week," said John Trimarchi of Adams, member of an antidevelopment group called Save the Glen.

Project supporters accuse activists of trying to refight an issue that Dukakis settled in 1985 when he signed legislation to set aside $8.5 million to develop the glen. They say that while the state and its private partners have tried to create an "environmentally sensitive" development, including 850 acres of conservation land and environmental education programs, their right to build is supported by state law.

Yet, even people who generally support development of Greylock Glen have been troubled by its management. They fear the project is fueled more by bureaucratic momentum - and support by Lieutenant Governor Jane Swift and Environmental Management Commissioner Peter Webber, both from Berkshire County - than any prospect for success.

These friendly critics point to several worrisome signs:

The Department of Environmental Management's own study found that there is no market for vacation houses in Adams, a onetime textile-making community that has never been a tourist draw. State officials say the resort will change that, but, for now, people don't even think of taking a vacation in Adams.

Christopher Fleming, the Boston-based lead developer of Greylock Center, admits that he is $15 million short in financing the project, mainly because of the risk associated with a planned hotel. He believes the money will be available once the project gets underway, but the shortfall makes nervous even boosters such as Representative Daniel E. Bosley, a North Adams Democrat.

Despite all the planning, state officials remain vague about key elements of Greylock Center, such as what kind of houses will be built or who will buy them. Meanwhile, the actual layout of the project has changed repeatedly, including 44 redesigns of the golf course alone.

These concerns have translated into brickbats from the local press. The North Adams Transcript called the project "half baked," and the Berkshire Eagle called it "suspect from the outset." At the same time, the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission has called for a better accounting of public spending.

Fleming, who has invested $1 million in the project so far, admits that he, too, had doubts about Greylock Center. Mired in a drawn-out effort to placate the project's critics with design changes, Fleming worried that the process was taking too long and costing too much, with no profit in sight.

But rave reviews for another much-criticized Dukakis initiative - the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MassMOCA), which opened last May in nearby North Adams - gave Fleming new hope. Skeptics doubted that art lovers would come to an isolated mill town, but more than 70,000 visitors have come so far, prompting celebrations in North Adams.

"Up until this past summer, I would wake up in the morning and say, `What the hell are we doing out there?' " Fleming said. "But then, when the news about MassMOCA started coming in, it settled all my fears."

Others agree that MassMOCA's success may have improved Greylock Center's prospects. Berkshire County's tourist economy is concentrated in the south, but MassMOCA gave tourists a reason to drive up Route 8 through Adams.

"I think there is a real possibility that [Greylock Center] could work; I wouldn't have said that a few years ago," said Ellen Cohen of Cohen and White, a Lenox-based real estate brokerage that specializes in upscale vacation houses. "I think people would be willing to go a little further north . . . so that they can say we live near the new museum."

For local residents, who have had the promise of resort jobs and tax revenues dangled before them since Alan Canter tried to build a ski resort in the 1970s, the current dispute seems all too familiar. They supported the project at every turn, but became fatalistic.

"I think it should be built, but I don't think it will be," said Donald Dellert, sitting in his Idyll Gift Shop. "It's been what, 20 years?"

Greylock Center was not supposed to be a replay of the contentious debates of environment vs. development that Dukakis' ambitious projects sometimes fostered. After the 1991 collapse of Dukakis's favored plan - a $220 million resort proposed by Heritage Development Group of Connecticut - both sides agreed to take a fresh look at Greylock Glen.

Environmentalists agreed that Adams, where young people have moved away by the hundreds as factory jobs disappeared, needed help to reach its tourism potential. Though the town boasts historic houses and an enviable location at the base of Mount Greylock, it lacks a hotel or even a path to the mountaintop.

Town and state officials, meanwhile, agreed that Greylock Glen is an important natural and recreation area that needs to be preserved, even as it is developed. The 850 houses proposed by Heritage were just too much, they acknowledged.

Out of this understanding came a 1994 master plan that called for a conference center emphasizing environmental and natural resource issues and for public facilities such as cross-country skiing trails and a golf course, but no permanent housing at all. Both sides declared victory.

But when the Department of Environmental Management sought private developers to undertake the project, all of them said they couldn't make a profit on the project unless they could build houses, too.

"The problem with the whole project from day one has been the Cadillac taste and the Chevy budget," said Representative Bosley. "We have never put enough [state] money into it to really build this out, so every developer has tried to turn to housing."

But Republican governors William Weld and Paul Cellucci have made it clear there would be no more big public investments in Greylock. At most, Department of Environmental Management officials say, the state could invest $3 million to $4 million more for public amenities and another $1 million for a road.

Lacking a bigger public subsidy, the state chose Fleming of Franklin Realty Advisors in Boston to develop the project after environmentalists agreed he could build up to 300 units of housing as long as it served an environmental purpose, such as housing people for environmental conferences or showcasing the latest environmental technologies.

Fleming now says that the houses, likely to be priced between $150,000 and $225,000, will be marketed as vacation homes to families who "can't afford to fly their kids to Vail for a ski trip." The buildings will be clustered in a village to conserve space, he said, and they will have to meet as-yet-unwritten environmental guidelines.

But environmentalists are disenchanted with Fleming, arguing that he is so eager to recoup his investment that he is abandoning their agreement. "This stuff they're talking about now is any kind of housing that anybody wants to put there," said Robie Hubley of the Massachusetts Audubon Society.

As a result, the Greylock Center plan, scheduled to be submitted this month for review by Environmental Affairs Secretary Robert Durand, has no more support from environmentalists than the Dukakis plan of the 1980s.

"It's a dumb project," said George Wislocki, executive director of the Berkshire Natural Resources Council, who nonetheless expects to keep fighting the idea "until all the [state] money is spent."

After all the work and all the disappointment of the last 15 years, town officials say the time for fighting is over, and the time for building has arrived. Although the jobs and the tax money will be great, Selectman Ed Driscoll said Greylock offers something even more important: a new beginning.

"I don't agree with Michael Dukakis on many things," concluded Fleming. "But, on this one, he was right."
One thing that should be noted from the map... This is not something that's going to be plunked onto the summit.
The map is a little deceptive because North is to the right.
The East face of Greylock falls off rather quickly. With slope and the vegitation most of the construction would not even be visible from the summit.
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Bill
Bill

October 4th, 2000, 4:44 am #4

not
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tom clarke
tom clarke

October 4th, 2000, 10:36 am #5

I'm not exactly sure where this stands. I saw an April 9 Boston Globe item noting that state environmental officials had endorse this (and quoted a $125 Million estimate).

I was tipped off to explore Greylock development after seeing a t.v. news profile of North Adams which has become a little silicon village after tripod.com was founded there.

http://www.tripod.com

One of the biggest developments in the past couple years is MASS MOCA (The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art which is billed as ``the world's largest contemporary art and performance center")

http://www.massmoca.org/

Does anybody have anything more recent on this?
========

A RESORT MAY RISE AT LAST
AFTER 15 YEARS, MT. GREYLOCK PROJECT IS NEARING ITS FINAL APPROVAL
Author: By Scott Allen, GLOBE STAFF Date: 01/12/2000 Page: A1 Section: Metro/Region
ADAMS - The woods are full of dashed hopes: the abandoned ski lift, the foundation of the unfinished hotel, the roads to nowhere. Dreamers long have imagined this rolling landscape beneath towering Mt. Greylock as a grand Berkshire resort, but they have been done in by the task of turning a fading mill town into a tourist mecca.
Today, Adams may be the last town still waiting for the "Massachusetts Miracle" that former governor Michael S. Dukakis promised back in the mid-1980s. Despite 15 years of state sparring with environmentalists and at least $12.3 million in state aid to develop Greylock Glen, all the town has to show for it are a gazebo and a couple of composting toilets.

But, this month, the bulldozers are drawing closer to the foot of Massachusetts' tallest mountain. After numerous false starts, officials at the state Department of Environmental Management are about to file final plans for a $119 million resort and convention center on 1,063 acres of state land, raising the possibility of groundbreaking by summer.

The proposed Greylock Center is much slimmed down from the Dukakis-era proposal that provoked a showdown with environmental groups, and today's champions are top Republicans rather than a liberal Democratic governor. Nonetheless, Greylock Center is shaping up as one last test of Dukakis's development policies, pitting progrowth forces against environmentalists.

"The support for this project in Adams has been unwavering and unequivocal," said Town Administrator James Leitch of Adams, whose town has lost a third of its population since 1950. "This is our town. Why can't we develop the land in an environmentally responsible way?"

On the other side, environmental groups are girding for a fight, retaining the law firm of Foley, Hoag & Eliot to pore over public spending on Greylock Center and to challenge the development in court if necessary. To them, the project is little more than state-subsidized suburban sprawl that will mar the view from the top of Mt. Greylock.

"We are subsidizing a resort development with millions of taxpayer dollars and public land while Massachusetts loses 300 acres of open space every week," said John Trimarchi of Adams, member of an antidevelopment group called Save the Glen.

Project supporters accuse activists of trying to refight an issue that Dukakis settled in 1985 when he signed legislation to set aside $8.5 million to develop the glen. They say that while the state and its private partners have tried to create an "environmentally sensitive" development, including 850 acres of conservation land and environmental education programs, their right to build is supported by state law.

Yet, even people who generally support development of Greylock Glen have been troubled by its management. They fear the project is fueled more by bureaucratic momentum - and support by Lieutenant Governor Jane Swift and Environmental Management Commissioner Peter Webber, both from Berkshire County - than any prospect for success.

These friendly critics point to several worrisome signs:

The Department of Environmental Management's own study found that there is no market for vacation houses in Adams, a onetime textile-making community that has never been a tourist draw. State officials say the resort will change that, but, for now, people don't even think of taking a vacation in Adams.

Christopher Fleming, the Boston-based lead developer of Greylock Center, admits that he is $15 million short in financing the project, mainly because of the risk associated with a planned hotel. He believes the money will be available once the project gets underway, but the shortfall makes nervous even boosters such as Representative Daniel E. Bosley, a North Adams Democrat.

Despite all the planning, state officials remain vague about key elements of Greylock Center, such as what kind of houses will be built or who will buy them. Meanwhile, the actual layout of the project has changed repeatedly, including 44 redesigns of the golf course alone.

These concerns have translated into brickbats from the local press. The North Adams Transcript called the project "half baked," and the Berkshire Eagle called it "suspect from the outset." At the same time, the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission has called for a better accounting of public spending.

Fleming, who has invested $1 million in the project so far, admits that he, too, had doubts about Greylock Center. Mired in a drawn-out effort to placate the project's critics with design changes, Fleming worried that the process was taking too long and costing too much, with no profit in sight.

But rave reviews for another much-criticized Dukakis initiative - the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MassMOCA), which opened last May in nearby North Adams - gave Fleming new hope. Skeptics doubted that art lovers would come to an isolated mill town, but more than 70,000 visitors have come so far, prompting celebrations in North Adams.

"Up until this past summer, I would wake up in the morning and say, `What the hell are we doing out there?' " Fleming said. "But then, when the news about MassMOCA started coming in, it settled all my fears."

Others agree that MassMOCA's success may have improved Greylock Center's prospects. Berkshire County's tourist economy is concentrated in the south, but MassMOCA gave tourists a reason to drive up Route 8 through Adams.

"I think there is a real possibility that [Greylock Center] could work; I wouldn't have said that a few years ago," said Ellen Cohen of Cohen and White, a Lenox-based real estate brokerage that specializes in upscale vacation houses. "I think people would be willing to go a little further north . . . so that they can say we live near the new museum."

For local residents, who have had the promise of resort jobs and tax revenues dangled before them since Alan Canter tried to build a ski resort in the 1970s, the current dispute seems all too familiar. They supported the project at every turn, but became fatalistic.

"I think it should be built, but I don't think it will be," said Donald Dellert, sitting in his Idyll Gift Shop. "It's been what, 20 years?"

Greylock Center was not supposed to be a replay of the contentious debates of environment vs. development that Dukakis' ambitious projects sometimes fostered. After the 1991 collapse of Dukakis's favored plan - a $220 million resort proposed by Heritage Development Group of Connecticut - both sides agreed to take a fresh look at Greylock Glen.

Environmentalists agreed that Adams, where young people have moved away by the hundreds as factory jobs disappeared, needed help to reach its tourism potential. Though the town boasts historic houses and an enviable location at the base of Mount Greylock, it lacks a hotel or even a path to the mountaintop.

Town and state officials, meanwhile, agreed that Greylock Glen is an important natural and recreation area that needs to be preserved, even as it is developed. The 850 houses proposed by Heritage were just too much, they acknowledged.

Out of this understanding came a 1994 master plan that called for a conference center emphasizing environmental and natural resource issues and for public facilities such as cross-country skiing trails and a golf course, but no permanent housing at all. Both sides declared victory.

But when the Department of Environmental Management sought private developers to undertake the project, all of them said they couldn't make a profit on the project unless they could build houses, too.

"The problem with the whole project from day one has been the Cadillac taste and the Chevy budget," said Representative Bosley. "We have never put enough [state] money into it to really build this out, so every developer has tried to turn to housing."

But Republican governors William Weld and Paul Cellucci have made it clear there would be no more big public investments in Greylock. At most, Department of Environmental Management officials say, the state could invest $3 million to $4 million more for public amenities and another $1 million for a road.

Lacking a bigger public subsidy, the state chose Fleming of Franklin Realty Advisors in Boston to develop the project after environmentalists agreed he could build up to 300 units of housing as long as it served an environmental purpose, such as housing people for environmental conferences or showcasing the latest environmental technologies.

Fleming now says that the houses, likely to be priced between $150,000 and $225,000, will be marketed as vacation homes to families who "can't afford to fly their kids to Vail for a ski trip." The buildings will be clustered in a village to conserve space, he said, and they will have to meet as-yet-unwritten environmental guidelines.

But environmentalists are disenchanted with Fleming, arguing that he is so eager to recoup his investment that he is abandoning their agreement. "This stuff they're talking about now is any kind of housing that anybody wants to put there," said Robie Hubley of the Massachusetts Audubon Society.

As a result, the Greylock Center plan, scheduled to be submitted this month for review by Environmental Affairs Secretary Robert Durand, has no more support from environmentalists than the Dukakis plan of the 1980s.

"It's a dumb project," said George Wislocki, executive director of the Berkshire Natural Resources Council, who nonetheless expects to keep fighting the idea "until all the [state] money is spent."

After all the work and all the disappointment of the last 15 years, town officials say the time for fighting is over, and the time for building has arrived. Although the jobs and the tax money will be great, Selectman Ed Driscoll said Greylock offers something even more important: a new beginning.

"I don't agree with Michael Dukakis on many things," concluded Fleming. "But, on this one, he was right."
the project is now based on a 200 room resort hotel, 300 vacation homes and an 18 hole golf course. groundbreaking has yet to commence and the developer and the state are still negotiating the master lease and the land disposition agreement. the project is generally opposed by everyone except the developers. the appalachian mountain club as been a vocal opponent! the project will clearly be a blight on this beautiful mountain! a web site is devoted to saving the glen! http://savetheglen.tripod.com
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roger
roger

October 4th, 2000, 6:08 pm #6

The savetheglen site is in frames. However there is an item that implies that this event is a sort of protest about the proposal. You could easily include a visit here if you are planning to visit Rhode Island also on October 8.

http://savetheglen.tripod.com/update.htm

Sunday, October 8th, 12 noon to 3 p.m., Join residents from Adams in a celebration of Greylock Glen. Explore this great open space and show that there is strong support for this land as a great place to picnic, hike, explore and bird-watch. Enjoy what promises to be a spectacular year for fall foliage. Bring your own picnic, Frisbees, kites, friends and family.

Directions: From the town of Adams on Route 8: go to the monument of President McKinley. Heading north, take a left up Maple St. to top. (heading south, go right up Maple). At the T, take a left onto West Rd. Go about 3/4 mile to Gould Rd. Take a right onto Gould and follow the road up hill to Y. Stay to the left and go a 1/2 mile to the ponds.

For more information contact Heather Linscott at hlinscot@bcn.net, or call 743-7893.

A "Friends of the Glen" group is forming to promote hiking, protect the trails and keep four wheelers and other motorized vehicles off the Glen. If you can help, contact Ruth Dinerman, rdinerman@amcinfo.org.
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Mark Adam
Mark Adam

October 5th, 2000, 2:33 am #7

not
Come on... Anyone can throw a tantrum. What is important? Just jumping up and down whining "You're wrong" doesn't do a heck of a lot to support your case.
Visibility is a symptom of the effect that a change will have on the area that we care most about, the highpoint. How far away from a highpoint does something have to be before you stop protesting? Or is that you just don't like any development anywhere?
Besides, I'm willing to bet that I'll agree with your concerns about the watershed, the wildlife, the increased traffic on routes 2 and 7... Unless your entire "argument" is based on the concept of KIL TREEES? BAD!
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roger
roger

October 5th, 2000, 12:06 pm #8

The savetheglen site is in frames. However there is an item that implies that this event is a sort of protest about the proposal. You could easily include a visit here if you are planning to visit Rhode Island also on October 8.

http://savetheglen.tripod.com/update.htm

Sunday, October 8th, 12 noon to 3 p.m., Join residents from Adams in a celebration of Greylock Glen. Explore this great open space and show that there is strong support for this land as a great place to picnic, hike, explore and bird-watch. Enjoy what promises to be a spectacular year for fall foliage. Bring your own picnic, Frisbees, kites, friends and family.

Directions: From the town of Adams on Route 8: go to the monument of President McKinley. Heading north, take a left up Maple St. to top. (heading south, go right up Maple). At the T, take a left onto West Rd. Go about 3/4 mile to Gould Rd. Take a right onto Gould and follow the road up hill to Y. Stay to the left and go a 1/2 mile to the ponds.

For more information contact Heather Linscott at hlinscot@bcn.net, or call 743-7893.

A "Friends of the Glen" group is forming to promote hiking, protect the trails and keep four wheelers and other motorized vehicles off the Glen. If you can help, contact Ruth Dinerman, rdinerman@amcinfo.org.
I had an email message from Heather. The October 8 event is more of a gathering than a formal protest.

They're not optimistic that much can be done.

Something is going to be built on the area. They just hope it's not massive.
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Anonymous
Anonymous

May 3rd, 2001, 3:11 pm #9

I'm not exactly sure where this stands. I saw an April 9 Boston Globe item noting that state environmental officials had endorse this (and quoted a $125 Million estimate).

I was tipped off to explore Greylock development after seeing a t.v. news profile of North Adams which has become a little silicon village after tripod.com was founded there.

http://www.tripod.com

One of the biggest developments in the past couple years is MASS MOCA (The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art which is billed as ``the world's largest contemporary art and performance center")

http://www.massmoca.org/

Does anybody have anything more recent on this?
========

A RESORT MAY RISE AT LAST
AFTER 15 YEARS, MT. GREYLOCK PROJECT IS NEARING ITS FINAL APPROVAL
Author: By Scott Allen, GLOBE STAFF Date: 01/12/2000 Page: A1 Section: Metro/Region
ADAMS - The woods are full of dashed hopes: the abandoned ski lift, the foundation of the unfinished hotel, the roads to nowhere. Dreamers long have imagined this rolling landscape beneath towering Mt. Greylock as a grand Berkshire resort, but they have been done in by the task of turning a fading mill town into a tourist mecca.
Today, Adams may be the last town still waiting for the "Massachusetts Miracle" that former governor Michael S. Dukakis promised back in the mid-1980s. Despite 15 years of state sparring with environmentalists and at least $12.3 million in state aid to develop Greylock Glen, all the town has to show for it are a gazebo and a couple of composting toilets.

But, this month, the bulldozers are drawing closer to the foot of Massachusetts' tallest mountain. After numerous false starts, officials at the state Department of Environmental Management are about to file final plans for a $119 million resort and convention center on 1,063 acres of state land, raising the possibility of groundbreaking by summer.

The proposed Greylock Center is much slimmed down from the Dukakis-era proposal that provoked a showdown with environmental groups, and today's champions are top Republicans rather than a liberal Democratic governor. Nonetheless, Greylock Center is shaping up as one last test of Dukakis's development policies, pitting progrowth forces against environmentalists.

"The support for this project in Adams has been unwavering and unequivocal," said Town Administrator James Leitch of Adams, whose town has lost a third of its population since 1950. "This is our town. Why can't we develop the land in an environmentally responsible way?"

On the other side, environmental groups are girding for a fight, retaining the law firm of Foley, Hoag & Eliot to pore over public spending on Greylock Center and to challenge the development in court if necessary. To them, the project is little more than state-subsidized suburban sprawl that will mar the view from the top of Mt. Greylock.

"We are subsidizing a resort development with millions of taxpayer dollars and public land while Massachusetts loses 300 acres of open space every week," said John Trimarchi of Adams, member of an antidevelopment group called Save the Glen.

Project supporters accuse activists of trying to refight an issue that Dukakis settled in 1985 when he signed legislation to set aside $8.5 million to develop the glen. They say that while the state and its private partners have tried to create an "environmentally sensitive" development, including 850 acres of conservation land and environmental education programs, their right to build is supported by state law.

Yet, even people who generally support development of Greylock Glen have been troubled by its management. They fear the project is fueled more by bureaucratic momentum - and support by Lieutenant Governor Jane Swift and Environmental Management Commissioner Peter Webber, both from Berkshire County - than any prospect for success.

These friendly critics point to several worrisome signs:

The Department of Environmental Management's own study found that there is no market for vacation houses in Adams, a onetime textile-making community that has never been a tourist draw. State officials say the resort will change that, but, for now, people don't even think of taking a vacation in Adams.

Christopher Fleming, the Boston-based lead developer of Greylock Center, admits that he is $15 million short in financing the project, mainly because of the risk associated with a planned hotel. He believes the money will be available once the project gets underway, but the shortfall makes nervous even boosters such as Representative Daniel E. Bosley, a North Adams Democrat.

Despite all the planning, state officials remain vague about key elements of Greylock Center, such as what kind of houses will be built or who will buy them. Meanwhile, the actual layout of the project has changed repeatedly, including 44 redesigns of the golf course alone.

These concerns have translated into brickbats from the local press. The North Adams Transcript called the project "half baked," and the Berkshire Eagle called it "suspect from the outset." At the same time, the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission has called for a better accounting of public spending.

Fleming, who has invested $1 million in the project so far, admits that he, too, had doubts about Greylock Center. Mired in a drawn-out effort to placate the project's critics with design changes, Fleming worried that the process was taking too long and costing too much, with no profit in sight.

But rave reviews for another much-criticized Dukakis initiative - the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MassMOCA), which opened last May in nearby North Adams - gave Fleming new hope. Skeptics doubted that art lovers would come to an isolated mill town, but more than 70,000 visitors have come so far, prompting celebrations in North Adams.

"Up until this past summer, I would wake up in the morning and say, `What the hell are we doing out there?' " Fleming said. "But then, when the news about MassMOCA started coming in, it settled all my fears."

Others agree that MassMOCA's success may have improved Greylock Center's prospects. Berkshire County's tourist economy is concentrated in the south, but MassMOCA gave tourists a reason to drive up Route 8 through Adams.

"I think there is a real possibility that [Greylock Center] could work; I wouldn't have said that a few years ago," said Ellen Cohen of Cohen and White, a Lenox-based real estate brokerage that specializes in upscale vacation houses. "I think people would be willing to go a little further north . . . so that they can say we live near the new museum."

For local residents, who have had the promise of resort jobs and tax revenues dangled before them since Alan Canter tried to build a ski resort in the 1970s, the current dispute seems all too familiar. They supported the project at every turn, but became fatalistic.

"I think it should be built, but I don't think it will be," said Donald Dellert, sitting in his Idyll Gift Shop. "It's been what, 20 years?"

Greylock Center was not supposed to be a replay of the contentious debates of environment vs. development that Dukakis' ambitious projects sometimes fostered. After the 1991 collapse of Dukakis's favored plan - a $220 million resort proposed by Heritage Development Group of Connecticut - both sides agreed to take a fresh look at Greylock Glen.

Environmentalists agreed that Adams, where young people have moved away by the hundreds as factory jobs disappeared, needed help to reach its tourism potential. Though the town boasts historic houses and an enviable location at the base of Mount Greylock, it lacks a hotel or even a path to the mountaintop.

Town and state officials, meanwhile, agreed that Greylock Glen is an important natural and recreation area that needs to be preserved, even as it is developed. The 850 houses proposed by Heritage were just too much, they acknowledged.

Out of this understanding came a 1994 master plan that called for a conference center emphasizing environmental and natural resource issues and for public facilities such as cross-country skiing trails and a golf course, but no permanent housing at all. Both sides declared victory.

But when the Department of Environmental Management sought private developers to undertake the project, all of them said they couldn't make a profit on the project unless they could build houses, too.

"The problem with the whole project from day one has been the Cadillac taste and the Chevy budget," said Representative Bosley. "We have never put enough [state] money into it to really build this out, so every developer has tried to turn to housing."

But Republican governors William Weld and Paul Cellucci have made it clear there would be no more big public investments in Greylock. At most, Department of Environmental Management officials say, the state could invest $3 million to $4 million more for public amenities and another $1 million for a road.

Lacking a bigger public subsidy, the state chose Fleming of Franklin Realty Advisors in Boston to develop the project after environmentalists agreed he could build up to 300 units of housing as long as it served an environmental purpose, such as housing people for environmental conferences or showcasing the latest environmental technologies.

Fleming now says that the houses, likely to be priced between $150,000 and $225,000, will be marketed as vacation homes to families who "can't afford to fly their kids to Vail for a ski trip." The buildings will be clustered in a village to conserve space, he said, and they will have to meet as-yet-unwritten environmental guidelines.

But environmentalists are disenchanted with Fleming, arguing that he is so eager to recoup his investment that he is abandoning their agreement. "This stuff they're talking about now is any kind of housing that anybody wants to put there," said Robie Hubley of the Massachusetts Audubon Society.

As a result, the Greylock Center plan, scheduled to be submitted this month for review by Environmental Affairs Secretary Robert Durand, has no more support from environmentalists than the Dukakis plan of the 1980s.

"It's a dumb project," said George Wislocki, executive director of the Berkshire Natural Resources Council, who nonetheless expects to keep fighting the idea "until all the [state] money is spent."

After all the work and all the disappointment of the last 15 years, town officials say the time for fighting is over, and the time for building has arrived. Although the jobs and the tax money will be great, Selectman Ed Driscoll said Greylock offers something even more important: a new beginning.

"I don't agree with Michael Dukakis on many things," concluded Fleming. "But, on this one, he was right."
Not to offend anyone but the proposed plan to build in the Greylock Glen area is the absolute worst idea anyone has come up with yet. The residence of the community love the land. The people treat it with respect and honor it's history. They climb it's mountains and wander it's valley's soaking up the beauty that nature has to offer. The children play in the ponds of the Greylock Glen and experience pure childhood innocence without their parents having to worry if there will be gangs or people who will treat their children with disrespect. there is no fear or worry. Developing the Greylock Center will change all of that weather you or anyone else wishes to believe that or not. There will be over crowding with all the tourists and new housing, the landscape will be no longer, the open fields that the children and adults enjoy so much will become off limits to them so that someone can play a round of golf. Many areas that the people of the county enjoy will become for "members only". We don't want to live in a world of restriction where all our childhood memories have been developed and turned into something out of caddyshack. I want my children to be able to experience the same quality of life that I experienced. Development and growth of an area is not always the answer. Keep it beautiful, keep it pure and it will provide for you.
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john noble
john noble

August 4th, 2001, 1:06 pm #10

I'm not exactly sure where this stands. I saw an April 9 Boston Globe item noting that state environmental officials had endorse this (and quoted a $125 Million estimate).

I was tipped off to explore Greylock development after seeing a t.v. news profile of North Adams which has become a little silicon village after tripod.com was founded there.

http://www.tripod.com

One of the biggest developments in the past couple years is MASS MOCA (The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art which is billed as ``the world's largest contemporary art and performance center")

http://www.massmoca.org/

Does anybody have anything more recent on this?
========

A RESORT MAY RISE AT LAST
AFTER 15 YEARS, MT. GREYLOCK PROJECT IS NEARING ITS FINAL APPROVAL
Author: By Scott Allen, GLOBE STAFF Date: 01/12/2000 Page: A1 Section: Metro/Region
ADAMS - The woods are full of dashed hopes: the abandoned ski lift, the foundation of the unfinished hotel, the roads to nowhere. Dreamers long have imagined this rolling landscape beneath towering Mt. Greylock as a grand Berkshire resort, but they have been done in by the task of turning a fading mill town into a tourist mecca.
Today, Adams may be the last town still waiting for the "Massachusetts Miracle" that former governor Michael S. Dukakis promised back in the mid-1980s. Despite 15 years of state sparring with environmentalists and at least $12.3 million in state aid to develop Greylock Glen, all the town has to show for it are a gazebo and a couple of composting toilets.

But, this month, the bulldozers are drawing closer to the foot of Massachusetts' tallest mountain. After numerous false starts, officials at the state Department of Environmental Management are about to file final plans for a $119 million resort and convention center on 1,063 acres of state land, raising the possibility of groundbreaking by summer.

The proposed Greylock Center is much slimmed down from the Dukakis-era proposal that provoked a showdown with environmental groups, and today's champions are top Republicans rather than a liberal Democratic governor. Nonetheless, Greylock Center is shaping up as one last test of Dukakis's development policies, pitting progrowth forces against environmentalists.

"The support for this project in Adams has been unwavering and unequivocal," said Town Administrator James Leitch of Adams, whose town has lost a third of its population since 1950. "This is our town. Why can't we develop the land in an environmentally responsible way?"

On the other side, environmental groups are girding for a fight, retaining the law firm of Foley, Hoag & Eliot to pore over public spending on Greylock Center and to challenge the development in court if necessary. To them, the project is little more than state-subsidized suburban sprawl that will mar the view from the top of Mt. Greylock.

"We are subsidizing a resort development with millions of taxpayer dollars and public land while Massachusetts loses 300 acres of open space every week," said John Trimarchi of Adams, member of an antidevelopment group called Save the Glen.

Project supporters accuse activists of trying to refight an issue that Dukakis settled in 1985 when he signed legislation to set aside $8.5 million to develop the glen. They say that while the state and its private partners have tried to create an "environmentally sensitive" development, including 850 acres of conservation land and environmental education programs, their right to build is supported by state law.

Yet, even people who generally support development of Greylock Glen have been troubled by its management. They fear the project is fueled more by bureaucratic momentum - and support by Lieutenant Governor Jane Swift and Environmental Management Commissioner Peter Webber, both from Berkshire County - than any prospect for success.

These friendly critics point to several worrisome signs:

The Department of Environmental Management's own study found that there is no market for vacation houses in Adams, a onetime textile-making community that has never been a tourist draw. State officials say the resort will change that, but, for now, people don't even think of taking a vacation in Adams.

Christopher Fleming, the Boston-based lead developer of Greylock Center, admits that he is $15 million short in financing the project, mainly because of the risk associated with a planned hotel. He believes the money will be available once the project gets underway, but the shortfall makes nervous even boosters such as Representative Daniel E. Bosley, a North Adams Democrat.

Despite all the planning, state officials remain vague about key elements of Greylock Center, such as what kind of houses will be built or who will buy them. Meanwhile, the actual layout of the project has changed repeatedly, including 44 redesigns of the golf course alone.

These concerns have translated into brickbats from the local press. The North Adams Transcript called the project "half baked," and the Berkshire Eagle called it "suspect from the outset." At the same time, the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission has called for a better accounting of public spending.

Fleming, who has invested $1 million in the project so far, admits that he, too, had doubts about Greylock Center. Mired in a drawn-out effort to placate the project's critics with design changes, Fleming worried that the process was taking too long and costing too much, with no profit in sight.

But rave reviews for another much-criticized Dukakis initiative - the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MassMOCA), which opened last May in nearby North Adams - gave Fleming new hope. Skeptics doubted that art lovers would come to an isolated mill town, but more than 70,000 visitors have come so far, prompting celebrations in North Adams.

"Up until this past summer, I would wake up in the morning and say, `What the hell are we doing out there?' " Fleming said. "But then, when the news about MassMOCA started coming in, it settled all my fears."

Others agree that MassMOCA's success may have improved Greylock Center's prospects. Berkshire County's tourist economy is concentrated in the south, but MassMOCA gave tourists a reason to drive up Route 8 through Adams.

"I think there is a real possibility that [Greylock Center] could work; I wouldn't have said that a few years ago," said Ellen Cohen of Cohen and White, a Lenox-based real estate brokerage that specializes in upscale vacation houses. "I think people would be willing to go a little further north . . . so that they can say we live near the new museum."

For local residents, who have had the promise of resort jobs and tax revenues dangled before them since Alan Canter tried to build a ski resort in the 1970s, the current dispute seems all too familiar. They supported the project at every turn, but became fatalistic.

"I think it should be built, but I don't think it will be," said Donald Dellert, sitting in his Idyll Gift Shop. "It's been what, 20 years?"

Greylock Center was not supposed to be a replay of the contentious debates of environment vs. development that Dukakis' ambitious projects sometimes fostered. After the 1991 collapse of Dukakis's favored plan - a $220 million resort proposed by Heritage Development Group of Connecticut - both sides agreed to take a fresh look at Greylock Glen.

Environmentalists agreed that Adams, where young people have moved away by the hundreds as factory jobs disappeared, needed help to reach its tourism potential. Though the town boasts historic houses and an enviable location at the base of Mount Greylock, it lacks a hotel or even a path to the mountaintop.

Town and state officials, meanwhile, agreed that Greylock Glen is an important natural and recreation area that needs to be preserved, even as it is developed. The 850 houses proposed by Heritage were just too much, they acknowledged.

Out of this understanding came a 1994 master plan that called for a conference center emphasizing environmental and natural resource issues and for public facilities such as cross-country skiing trails and a golf course, but no permanent housing at all. Both sides declared victory.

But when the Department of Environmental Management sought private developers to undertake the project, all of them said they couldn't make a profit on the project unless they could build houses, too.

"The problem with the whole project from day one has been the Cadillac taste and the Chevy budget," said Representative Bosley. "We have never put enough [state] money into it to really build this out, so every developer has tried to turn to housing."

But Republican governors William Weld and Paul Cellucci have made it clear there would be no more big public investments in Greylock. At most, Department of Environmental Management officials say, the state could invest $3 million to $4 million more for public amenities and another $1 million for a road.

Lacking a bigger public subsidy, the state chose Fleming of Franklin Realty Advisors in Boston to develop the project after environmentalists agreed he could build up to 300 units of housing as long as it served an environmental purpose, such as housing people for environmental conferences or showcasing the latest environmental technologies.

Fleming now says that the houses, likely to be priced between $150,000 and $225,000, will be marketed as vacation homes to families who "can't afford to fly their kids to Vail for a ski trip." The buildings will be clustered in a village to conserve space, he said, and they will have to meet as-yet-unwritten environmental guidelines.

But environmentalists are disenchanted with Fleming, arguing that he is so eager to recoup his investment that he is abandoning their agreement. "This stuff they're talking about now is any kind of housing that anybody wants to put there," said Robie Hubley of the Massachusetts Audubon Society.

As a result, the Greylock Center plan, scheduled to be submitted this month for review by Environmental Affairs Secretary Robert Durand, has no more support from environmentalists than the Dukakis plan of the 1980s.

"It's a dumb project," said George Wislocki, executive director of the Berkshire Natural Resources Council, who nonetheless expects to keep fighting the idea "until all the [state] money is spent."

After all the work and all the disappointment of the last 15 years, town officials say the time for fighting is over, and the time for building has arrived. Although the jobs and the tax money will be great, Selectman Ed Driscoll said Greylock offers something even more important: a new beginning.

"I don't agree with Michael Dukakis on many things," concluded Fleming. "But, on this one, he was right."
I am apalled by the idea of building a resort area on mt.greylock.what brings many of us users of the mountain to your area is the quick acsess to something that resembles a"wilderness" expirience. I am not deluded into beleiving I am in true wilderness,but greylock can give a hiker a sence of being in a greater range ,once away from the crowded parking area at the summit. Any resort development would destroy the experience,and any reason other than MOCA to ever visit the Adams/Williams area.
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