WILLIAMSTOWN -- A new committee exploring possible reuses of the Spruces mobile home park convened its first open meeting on Thursday.
Members of the Spruces Land Committee, which was created at Monday night's Board of Selectmen meeting, stressed public input will be essential in moving forward.
In August 2011, Tropical Storm Irene destroyed over 150 units at the 114 acre Spruces mobile home park, which lies in a 100 year floodplain. Under terms in the $6.13 million Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant that the town was awarded in March, the town would be required to relocate current residents and clear the site of the remaining 66 mobile homes.
A volunteer committee of Town Planner Andrew Groff and residents Elizabeth Bartel, Thomas Hyde, and Jack Madden had already created a conceptual plan of how the site could be reused.
The plan proposes athletic fields, hard surface tennis courts, a picnic and performance area, space for community gardens, a dog park, walking trails and access to the Hoosic River.
The plan also calls for existing agricultural land on the west end of the site to remain.
Members joining the original committee are Selectmen Chair David Rempell, Richard Schlesinger of the Conservation Commission, Spruces resident Charleen Blood, and Lisa DeMayo and Leslie Reed-Evans of the Agricultural Commission.
Hyde, who was elected chair of the committee on Thursday, suggested the first stage of planning involve community input.
"Then we can find out what is feasible and affordable," he said.
Rempell said the grant specifies what structures can be built on the site. While no homes can be built, a structure such as a pavilion could be permitted, he said, adding that some existing features of the site could be reused.
"For example, the foundations can be reused if the structures built don't have walls around them," he explained.
Members agreed that for future meetings, residents will be given a list of structures and uses that FEMA would allow on the site.
The next meeting of the Spruces Land Committee will be Wednesday, June 12 at 5 p.m. in the Selectmen's meeting room at the town hall.
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