Letter: Devil is in details of Baker Hill plan
In reference to Lanesborough's endeavor to find another use for the Berkshire Mall, Town Manager Paul Sieloff was quoted in The Eagle as saying "Baker Hill [Road District] and the town are joined at the hip." Let's have a town meeting in quick order so we locals can understand what that connotes.
There are a plethora of new ideas to revive malls across the U.S. They can be renovated and re-used as apartments, senior housing, gyms, urgent care centers, churches, offices, art galleries, classrooms, indoor farms, entertainment like bumper cars, ad infinitum. The vast parking lots can be used for additional building and outdoor facilities. Pedestrian walkways are another possibility which would be of particular benefit to senior citizens who currently walk inside malls. But we need to find ways to create a destination mall, not just a local mall, to attract people from outside the area. The $50,000 from the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission and the $20,000 from the Baker Hill Road District should be enough to get started on this.
But if the Baker Hill Road District were to purchase the mall — however financed — who might end up with it ultimately? Would it be the town, the property owners along the mall connector road, or individuals within town offices who have a handle on the details and an inside track already? (Selectman Chairman John Goerlach and Public Works Director William Decelles are on the board along with property owner William Prendergast.) Will taxes benefit the town so taxpayers can stop paying through the nose collectively?
When is the meeting so we townies can understand all of these particulars? The devil is in the details.
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