WILLIAMSTOWN -- A group of residents will present a petition to the selectman on Monday night, requesting the town commission a flood mitigation study from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
"We don't want to leave, and we don't feel we're in harm's way," Save the Spruces Chairman Peter Russell said Thursday. "Everyone keeps saying we're in harm's way."
In a Jan. 11 letter to Board of Selectmen Chairman David Rempell, the 10-member group explained they are seeking to maintain The Spruces as a viable community.
The Army Corps of Engineers require a formally elected government body make a request for studies.
The letter states members of the group "believe that the two tributaries north of The Spruces are sending nuisance water in our direction which flow through The Spruces headed to the Hoosac River." The letter identified this as the major causes of flooding on the property, along with two dams upstream.
The Spruces mobile home park flooded during Tropical Storm Irene in August, 2011, leaving only 66 of the 225 units suitable for occupation.
In November, officials announced the town had applied for a $6.25 million hazard mitigation grant from the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA). If the town receives the grant, the current proposal is to purchase the park from Morgan Management, which is operating the park on a loss with only 30 percent capacity.
Grant money would be used as seed money for the development of affordable housing units on a town property. Discussion has focused on the Lowry property, a 30-acre swathe of land off of Stratton Road. If the plan is enacted, current Spruces owner-occupants would be eligible for a $22,500 relocation payment, a lifetime housing guarantee, and first-year rent payments equal to the roughly $250 per month most Spruces residents currently pay.
But residents like Russell want to stay where they are. Russell, who has lived in The Spruces since 2005, said the community was and still is close-knit.
"We can all barbecue, and can have vegetable gardens," he said. "We live on one level and only have to climb three or four steps. The neighbors look after each other. And we can still live independently."
Russell said if the current plan moves forward, he won't be going to the new housing.
He said he had concerns about the location -- the Lowry Property is too far away from the bus route, he said, and the property is too windy.
In addition, he said the current plan is unfair.
"We'll lose all of the equity on our homes," he said. "Those of us with children can't leave any assets to them."
He added, "A lot of us don't want to live in government housing. They will take away some of our freedoms."
Rempell said Thursday the board welcomes residents to bring forward items to bring to the selectmen's attention.
"When someone brings an agenda item to something to us, we will listen to it, discuss it and act accordingly," Rempell said.
To reach Edward Damon, email