ADAMS -- The Agricultural Fair Committee won't be leasing storage space at Bowe Field after Selectmen opposed a request from the group on grounds of legal liability and public procurement law.
Though officials praised the group for continuing to seek ways to raise funds, a response to the Agricultural Fair's request from town counsel cited at Wednesday's Select men's meeting revealed potential issues that ultimately caused Selectmen to opt out.
Fair representatives said in a letter read at the meeting that the request was prompted by "a number of inquiries from townspeople" about leasing space at Bowe Field's new pavilion or its cattle barn.
Town counsel Edmund St. John III's most notable concerns were that the town would potentially be liable in the event of damages to patron's stored properties, and granting the request would violate the commonwealth's procurement law.
At the meeting, Town Administrator Jonathan Butler defined how, by the letter of the law, the town would have to go about granting use of the space.
"It would have to be a proposal process where we can pick the best use of the space, or it would have to be a bid process where we identify a use and then give it to the high bidder," Butler said.
Selectmen's Chair Arthur "Skip" Harrington also op posed on the grounds that a town-sponsored lease business could detract from other local businesses.
But Harrington advocated "keeping the
"I'm sure the Aggie Fair needs some resources to help them support the very good work that they do," Harrington said.
Selectmen John Duval encouraged the group to continue efforts to support the fair into the future.
"I applaud them for coming up with some new ideas to raise funds for the organization. That's what they need to do to continue to do this and not be stymied that this may not pass. But there's too many legal issues to deal with in this request."
In August, the Agricultural Fair cut the ribbon on a new 60-foot-by-80-foot pavilion at their traditional Bowe Field grounds on Old Columbia Street. The structure was paid for by a Massachusetts Agricultural Resources grant for $50,000, in-kind services and a $10,000 commitment from the town.
Butler said at the discussion's close, "If they are looking for additional means of revenue, the town's happy to sit down with them and look at grant opportunities, different funding sources, help them with fundraising efforts. Obviously, we're extremely supportive of what they do. But I can agree with the Board that this particular use of town property might not be the best solution."