Information on Sandisfield election has been corrected. 

Rugg Bridge ahead of schedule

Repairs to the short span on Route 57 over the Clam River are ahead of schedule, according to Town Administrator Fred Ventresco.

Ventresco said this is partly due to the warm spell, but mainly because the bridge supports are in better shape than once thought. But he said he isn't sure yet when the town-owned bridge will reopen.

At the start of work in November, the town said it would be closed through the spring.

The bridge needed repairs after years of "wear and tear," Ventresco said. The town received a $1 million grant from the state to rebuild it, and up to $420,000 to supplement that was approved at town meeting.

An "alternating one-way" detour on River Road is still in place, and is being controlled by a traffic light.

Sandisfield to apply for home repair grants for its residents

Sandisfield has joined Monterey and Egremont in an application for $1.3 million in home repair grants for residents who cannot afford to make vital repairs to their homes.

Alice Boyd, a Sandisfield resident and community development consultant said residents who qualify can begin submitting applications to receive up to $40,000 in a zero-percent interest, "forgivable loan" of up to $40,000, on a first come/first serve basis. Boyd said the 15-year loan declines to zero over that time period, making it seem like "free money."

The Community Development Block Grants are awarded by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development. Applications and information can be found on the Sandisfield town website at sandisfieldma.gov.

Seven vacancies in town and school government

 Town Moderator, one-year term; Select Board, one- and three-year terms; Board of Assessors, three-year term; School Committee (Farmington River Regional School District), three-year term; Board of Health, three-year term; Planning Board, five-year term.

The candidates, so far, are: Billie Anderson Pachulski, an incumbent for School Committee; Charles Pease for Select Board, one-year term; John Skrip, an incumbent for Select Board, three-year term; and Kathleen Burrows, an incumbent for Board of Assessors, three-year term.

Nomination papers must be obtained by March 19, and submitted by March 22. The town will hold a caucus on Thursday, April 5, 2018 at 7 p.m., Old Town Hall at 3 Silverbrook Road Annual Town Election is May 14, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Old Town Hall. 

Transfer station work ordered by MassDEP

The town will work over the next year to bring its transfer station up to state environmental standards.

Ventresco said a Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection inspection found that the condition of the landfill cap at the station had deteriorated. He said this had happened, in part, because people had been dumping large items, possibly in an attempt over the years to get around paying the $65 fee for a transfer station permit sticker.

The transfer station is at the site of a an old dump.

He said the town will have to do maintenance to the landfill cap, as well as cut down some trees and shrubs. Town crews will try to do most of the work, but an engineer may be needed down the road, he added.

New trails at Clam River Reserve

Berkshire Natural Resources Council has announced three new trails in the 550-acre Clam River Reserve.

Volunteers and BNRC staff have created the Hammertown Loop, the Clam River Trail, and the Clam River Loop Trail, which starts at the Town Hall Annex. The Clam River Trail connects the Hammertown and Clam River loops.

Tree signs mark all the trails, and maps and directions are available on BNRC.org. The Sandisfield Times will also reprint a map in early summer.

BNRC describes the area with 1.5 miles along the Clam River as a "beautiful, romantic stream valley, canyon-like in spots with access to Clam River. Old stone foundations and millworks along this cold water stream. Abundant wildlife."

Heather Bellow can be reached at hbellow@berkshireeagle.com or on Twitter at @BE_hbellow and 413-329-6871