WILLIAMSTOWN -- Selectmen authorized Town Manager Peter Fohlin to sign the Hazard Mitigation Grant to relocate residents of the flood-ravaged Spruces mobile home park, but just when Fohlin will sign is still uncertain.
During Monday’s meeting, Fohlin reminded Selectmen the there is no signed agreement that says the town will assume ownership of the park and allow park owner, Rochester, N.Y.,-based Morgan Management, to keep $600,000 of the grant money.
"We should not disperse one dime of this grant money until that agreement with Morgan Management is in place," he said.
Fohlin explained that under provisions in the grant, $1.5 million would be dispersed among the residents for their homes and Morgan Management would receive $4.5 million to remove all structures in the park. Though the town has discussed assuming ownership of the park and letting Morgan Management keep $600,000 of the $4.5 million, a final agreement is in the works, he said.
"We have the framework of that agreement, that is going back and forth between [Morgan Management’s] attorney and our attorney slowly," he said.
Selectmen also voted for the creation of a new committee to explore the reuse of the 114 acre Spruces site.
An ad-hoc committee has already developed a conceptual plan to reuse 114 acre Spruces site, which was ravaged during Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011 and lies in a 100-year floodplain, Selectmen Chair David Rempell noted. Under provisions of the Hazard Mitigation Grant the town must clear the park of all existing buildings and move the 65 households to another location.
"The charge for this committee would be to bring a final plan to the board of selectmen and the Conservation Commission for consideration," he said.
The original members who will continue to serve the new committee are residents Thomas Hyde, Jack Madden, and Elizabeth Bartel. Their proposal, discussed at a April 17 joint meeting between Selectmen and the Conservation Commission, includes a walking trail system, athletic fields, space for community gardens and a bike trail.
Members of the new Spruces Land Use Committee, appointed Monday night, are Spruces resident Charlene Blood, Conservation Committee member Richard Schlesinger, Agricultural Commission member Leslie Reed Evans, and Rempell. Town Planner Andrew Groff will provide input, but won’t be an official member, Rempell noted.
In other business, the selectmen:
* Approved the water and sewer warrant for fiscal year 2014 at
* Thanked Selectman Thomas Costley for six years of service to the Board of Selectmen, who did not seek re-election and attended his final meeting on Monday.
To reach Edward Damon, email