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Senior Games

During the weekend of July 13-14, Springfield College hosted the Massachusetts Senior Games, as it has since 1991. Hundreds of participants took part in a range of events, including track and field, swimming, racquetball, and more. Pictured at left: from left, Springfield College Professor Emeritus Beth Evans, occupational therapy master’s student Renée deLisser, and Joan Simmons, associate professor of Occupational Therapy, get ready for the Senior Games. At right: Davis Cox, Massachusetts Senior Games board of directors president, prepares for the event at Blake Track at Springfield College.

From left, Springfield College Professor Emeritus Beth Evans, occupational therapy master’s student Renée deLisser, and Joan Simmons, associate professor of Occupational Therapy, get ready for the Senior Games.

Davis Cox, Massachusetts Senior Games board of directors president, prepares for the event at Blake Track at Springfield College.





Patio Party

The Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce partnered with Young Professionals of Amherst and Northampton Area Young Professionals for a patio party on July16 at the Courtyard by Marriott.

Pictured, from left: Youssef Fadel of New England Promotional Marketing, Regina Curtis of the Greenfield Community College Foundation, Dawn Creighton of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, and Vince Jackson of the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce.




Planners Tell All

On July 17, Michael’s Party Rental teamed up with Meeting Professionals International of the Connecticut River Valley and CJC Creative to host a “Planners Tell All” event. A panel of corporate and special-event planners joined local wedding/meeting planners and suppliers at the Michael’s warehouse for a night of networking and education.

Pictured, from left: Jackie Martucci, owner of Events by Jackie M; Lisa Antonecchia, owner of Creative Concepts by Lisa; Erin Tierney, lecturer at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst; and Amanda Cristina, senior meeting planner at LIMRA.

 



CUMMINGTON – This summer, enter the realm between worlds for a weekend full of fairies, fantasy, and fun.
The Massachusetts Renaissance Faire is coming to the Cummington Fairgrounds for its third season July 26-27 and Aug. 3-4.
The festival promises to transport patrons from the midsummer Berkshires into a magical realm of the past.
With all-day entertainment across five stages, there is never a dull moment. Guests will cheer for their favorite knight at the joust, gasp as ladies dance with fire, laugh with the fairies, be amazed by the magic and enjoy the sweet sounds of Renaissance music.
There are plenty of activities for children and adults to create memories together. They may test their strength against a real knight, listen to stories from a vegetarian zombie, or learn how to write with a quill. Patrons may want to try their hand shooting an ancient missile weapon with sponge ammo, practice their fencing skills with foam swords, or shoot a real bow and arrow.
Guests may visit an encampment from the end of the Hundred Years War, watch a blacksmith turn iron into nails, and cheer for armored knights as they wail on each other with swords.
They may also shop over 50 mystical vendors, discover handmade goods, and meet local artisans.
Whether they be a fearsome knight, a flighty fairy or a scurvy pirate, patrons are invited to show off their best costumes, or buy new pieces from the many talented vendors. Although the many costumed characters make the faire come alive, many guests visit in their 21st-century garb.

CUMMINGTON – This summer, enter the realm between worlds for a weekend full of fairies, fantasy, and fun.
The Massachusetts Renaissance Faire is coming to the Cummington Fairgrounds for its third season July 26-27 and Aug. 3-4.
The festival promises to transport patrons from the midsummer Berkshires into a magical realm of the past.
With all-day entertainment across five stages, there is never a dull moment. Guests will cheer for their favorite knight at the joust, gasp as ladies dance with fire, laugh with the fairies, be amazed by the magic and enjoy the sweet sounds of Renaissance music.
There are plenty of activities for children and adults to create memories together. They may test their strength against a real knight, listen to stories from a vegetarian zombie, or learn how to write with a quill. Patrons may want to try their hand shooting an ancient missile weapon with sponge ammo, practice their fencing skills with foam swords, or shoot a real bow and arrow.
Guests may visit an encampment from the end of the Hundred Years War, watch a blacksmith turn iron into nails, and cheer for armored knights as they wail on each other with swords.
They may also shop over 50 mystical vendors, discover handmade goods, and meet local artisans.
Whether they be a fearsome knight, a flighty fairy or a scurvy pirate, patrons are invited to show off their best costumes, or buy new pieces from the many talented vendors. Although the many costumed characters make the faire come alive, many guests visit in their 21st-century garb.

CUMMINGTON – This summer, enter the realm between worlds for a weekend full of fairies, fantasy, and fun.
The Massachusetts Renaissance Faire is coming to the Cummington Fairgrounds for its third season July 26-27 and Aug. 3-4.
The festival promises to transport patrons from the midsummer Berkshires into a magical realm of the past.
With all-day entertainment across five stages, there is never a dull moment. Guests will cheer for their favorite knight at the joust, gasp as ladies dance with fire, laugh with the fairies, be amazed by the magic and enjoy the sweet sounds of Renaissance music.
There are plenty of activities for children and adults to create memories together. They may test their strength against a real knight, listen to stories from a vegetarian zombie, or learn how to write with a quill. Patrons may want to try their hand shooting an ancient missile weapon with sponge ammo, practice their fencing skills with foam swords, or shoot a real bow and arrow.
Guests may visit an encampment from the end of the Hundred Years War, watch a blacksmith turn iron into nails, and cheer for armored knights as they wail on each other with swords.
They may also shop over 50 mystical vendors, discover handmade goods, and meet local artisans.
Whether they be a fearsome knight, a flighty fairy or a scurvy pirate, patrons are invited to show off their best costumes, or buy new pieces from the many talented vendors. Although the many costumed characters make the faire come alive, many guests visit in their 21st-century garb.

CUMMINGTON – This summer, enter the realm between worlds for a weekend full of fairies, fantasy, and fun.
The Massachusetts Renaissance Faire is coming to the Cummington Fairgrounds for its third season July 26-27 and Aug. 3-4.
The festival promises to transport patrons from the midsummer Berkshires into a magical realm of the past.
With all-day entertainment across five stages, there is never a dull moment. Guests will cheer for their favorite knight at the joust, gasp as ladies dance with fire, laugh with the fairies, be amazed by the magic and enjoy the sweet sounds of Renaissance music.
There are plenty of activities for children and adults to create memories together. They may test their strength against a real knight, listen to stories from a vegetarian zombie, or learn how to write with a quill. Patrons may want to try their hand shooting an ancient missile weapon with sponge ammo, practice their fencing skills with foam swords, or shoot a real bow and arrow.
Guests may visit an encampment from the end of the Hundred Years War, watch a blacksmith turn iron into nails, and cheer for armored knights as they wail on each other with swords.
They may also shop over 50 mystical vendors, discover handmade goods, and meet local artisans.
Whether they be a fearsome knight, a flighty fairy or a scurvy pirate, patrons are invited to show off their best costumes, or buy new pieces from the many talented vendors. Although the many costumed characters make the faire come alive, many guests visit in their 21st-century garb.

Agenda

Conversation on College Closures

July 26: State Sen. Jo Comerford and state Rep. Mindy Domb will host Department of Higher Education Commissioner Carlos Santiago for a regional conversation on the topic of preventing and addressing the impact of college closures. The event will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. in the town meeting room at Amherst Town Hall, 4 Boltwood Ave., Amherst. This event is an opportunity for community members to learn about the governor’s proposal for preventing closures and share questions, concerns, insights, and recommendations with the commissioner. The conversation will be interactive, and concerned individuals who are not able to attend in person can submit questions and comments for the commissioner by using the hashtag #askDHE on Twitter. Additionally, in an effort to make the event as accessible as possible, Comerford and Domb will also live-stream the event from their Facebook pages and take questions via those Facebook feeds as well.

Sunset & Vines

July 27: Glendale Ridge Vineyard at 155 Glendale Road, Southampton, is again hosting Sunset & Vines, an annual fundraising event for the Northampton Survival Center, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. This family-friendly benefit features music by Kate Lorenz and the Constellations, and local comedian Kelsey Flynn will serve as master of ceremonies. Food trucks will include the Bistro Bus, Local Burgy, Little Truc, and Chill Out. Proceeds from ticket sales — $15 in advance at 2019sunsetandvines.brownpapertickets.com or $20 at the door — go directly toward purchasing food for clients who visit the Survival Center. Children 12 and under are free. Attendees are invited to enjoy a mini-Tanglewood experience by bringing a blanket or chairs and a picnic if they choose. The rain date is Sunday, July 28 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

DeVries Fine Art Reception for 40th Career Anniversary

Aug. 10: DeVries Fine Art International announced it will celebrate sculptor Andrew DeVries’ 40th career anniversary with a reception from 2 to 5 p.m. at the DeVries Fine Art International Gallery, 62 Church St., Lenox, with picnic fare and art both inside the gallery and outside on the grounds. Rosie Porter and Tommy LeBeau will provide music. The gallery features original bronze sculptures, pastel paintings, and watercolors by the artist. New for this year is an educational room that gives a detailed description of the lost-wax process Devries uses, with a video and examples of different works in progress. DeVries began his career in Colorado by drawing dancers at the Ballet Denver Academy in 1978. Encouraged to try his hand at sculpture by the artistic director of the ballet company, he began to model figures in clay and wax. He went on to learn the lost-wax process under Lee Schenkeir and mold making under Raelee Frazier. In 1979, he cast and finished his first works in bronze. In 1984, he left for Europe, traveling to different museums in a period of self-study. Andrew entered the Paris – American Academy of Fine Arts for an academic year, then to the U.S. in the summer of 1985, settling in the small Berkshire hilltown of Middlefield, where he maintains his atelier and casting studio. His sculptures are in public and private collections worldwide. He and his wife, gallery Director Patricia Purdy, established DeVries Fine Art International in 2002.

Celebrate Holyoke

Aug. 23-25: Celebrate Holyoke, a three-day festival drawing an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 people to downtown Holyoke each year, will take place at Heritage State Park. This year’s festival will include live musical performances, food and beverages from local restaurants, and goods from local artists and makers. The event’s new fiscal sponsor is Holyoke Community Media Inc., a nonprofit that seeks to promote all voices in the community through media. This year, songwriter, social commentator, storyteller, actor, and activist Arlo Guthrie returns to Holyoke on Aug. 24. The Celebrate Holyoke planning committee welcomes alcohol distributors, food trucks, restaurateurs, artisans, nonprofits, and community organizations to apply to be a part of Celebrate Holyoke at celebrateholyokemass.com/vendors. Although planning for Celebrate Holyoke has been underway for the last few months, the committee has opened up applications for volunteers during the three-day event. Volunteers are greatly needed for shifts throughout the weekend of the event.

‘Roots & Boots ’90s Electric Throwdown Tour’

Sept. 7: The Melha Shriners, in conjunction with the Three County Fairgrounds in Northampton, will present a day-long country music festival at the fairgrounds from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The “Roots & Boots ’90s Electric Throwdown Tour” will bring a full day of music with six country acts, featuring nationally renowned artists Sammy Kershaw, Collin Raye, and Aaron Tippin. Popular local bands King Kountry, Southern Rain, and Cottonwood will also perform. Ticket prices are $30 (general admission, advance sale), $35 (general admission, day of the show) and $40 (reserved seating). General admission is free for children under 5. Tickets are available online at 3countyfair.com/events. The gates will open at 10 a.m., with on-site parking available for $5 per vehicle. Food, beer, and wine will be available for purchase. No outside food or beverages will be permitted. General admission patrons are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets; however, beach umbrellas and pop-up tents are not allowed. Sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information, contact event chair Shonn Monday at (413) 800-2312.

RVCC Golf Tournament

Sept. 13: River Valley Counseling Center (RVCC), a multi-faceted mental-health agency, will hold its fourth annual golf tournament fundraiser at 10:30 a.m. at East Mountain Country Club in Westfield. The event is presented by Action Ambulance Services. The funds raised will help RVCC to continue providing mental health and other essential supportive services to more than 7,000 individuals yearly throughout the Pioneer Valley. The cost per golfer is $100 and includes greens fees, a golf cart, gift bag, lunch, and dinner. Golfers will also be able to participate in a raffle and silent auction. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. with a 10:30 a.m. shotgun start. There will also be contests on the course, with prizes donated by Marcotte Ford and Teddy Bear Pools. Other tournament sponsors include HCN, Unidine, PeoplesBank, CINTAS, Goss & McLain Insurance, Marsh & McLennan Agency, BMC HealthNet Plan, and Jefferson Radiology. For more information on sponsorships, in-kind donations, and registration, contact Angela Callahan, RVCC’s Marketing and Development specialist, at (413) 841-3546 or [email protected]h.com. Information is also available at www.rvcc-inc.org or by visiting River Valley Counseling Center’s Facebook page.

Golf Tournament to Fight Childhood Hunger

Sept. 30: It’s a sad reality that one in six children in the U.S. goes hungry every day, but it’s a reality Feed the Kids is trying to change. The group will hold its second annual charity golf tournament to benefit No Kid Hungry and the HPS Weekend Backpack Program at Springfield Country Club, 1375 Elm St., West Springfield. No Kid Hungry is a national organization that raises funds to support school breakfast programs, summer meals, afterschool meals, and more for children throughout the country. The HPS Weekend Backpack Program distributes bags of nutritious and easy-to-prepare meals to children at the end of each week that they can enjoy over the weekend. Feed the Kids is currently seeking donations for the tournament’s silent auction, individual and corporate sponsors, and, of course, golfers. Check-in for the scramble-format tournament will begin at 10 a.m., with a shotgun start at noon. The fee is $160 per golfer, which includes greens fees, driving range, cart use, lunch, cocktail hour, dinner, and a gift bag. There will also be prizes, a raffle, and an auction. To make a cash donation, donate an item for the raffle or auction, learn more about sponsorship opportunities, or register to golf or for the dinner, visit feedthekidsgolf.com.

Healthcare Heroes

Oct. 17: The third annual class of Healthcare Heroes will be honored at the Sheraton Springfield from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Healthcare Heroes, a recognition program involving the Western Mass. healthcare sector, was launched in 2017 by HCN and BusinessWest. The program was created to shed a bright light on the outstanding work being done across the broad spectrum of health and wellness services, and the institutions and people providing that care. The class of 2019 will be profiled in the Sept. 2 issue of BusinessWest, and will be feted at the Oct. 25 gala. Tickets will go on sale in August. Healthcare Heroes sponsors include American International College (presenting sponsor), Development Associates (partner sponsor), Comcast (partner sponsor), and Elms College (supporting sponsor). Additional sponsorship opportunities are available.

‘One Ocean, One People’

Oct. 24: Springfield College will host deep ocean explorer and environmentalist Fabien Cousteau and explorer and filmmaker Céline Cousteau for an evening titled “One Ocean, One People: The Cousteau Legacy and a Call for Environmental Action,” starting at 7:30 p.m. Fabien and Céline are the grandchildren of legendary explorer Jacque-Yves Cousteau. This event is free and open to the public. Both Fabien and Céline will highlight their commitment to fulfilling their family’s legacy of protecting and preserving the planet’s extensive and endangered marine inhabitants and habitats. Fabien stresses the need for bold and innovative thinking to progress conservation efforts worldwide. He encourages individuals to follow their own curiosity in developing cutting-edge solutions that can address regional and global environmental challenges. Through powerful storytelling, Céline uses her voyages around the world to offer a thoughtful perspective on the connection of the environment to populations around the world and how this knowledge is vital to the future of each of us on the planet.

Agenda

Blue Sox Youth Baseball Clinics

July 8-11, 15-18: The Valley Blue Sox announced that Shriners Hospitals for Children will serve as the presenting sponsor of the 2019 Blue Sox Youth Baseball Clinics. This year marks Shriners’ second season partnering with the Blue Sox to present the team’s youth clinics. Blue Sox coaches and players will provide hitting, pitching, and fielding instruction to participants ages 6-13 from 9 a.m. to noon daily. The registration fee for each four-day session is $100. Athletic trainers will be on hand, provided by Shriners. All children participating in the clinics will receive a pair of free tickets to Blue Sox Clinic Night on Saturday, July 20 courtesy of Shriners Hospitals for Children, where they will have the opportunity to take the field with the Valley Blue Sox during pregame ceremonies. The first session will be held July 8-11 at Mackenzie Stadium, 500 Beech St., Holyoke. Interested participants can visit www.valleybluesox.com for information on how to register. The second session will be held July 15-18 at Burnham Field in the Spec Pond Recreation Area, 2540 Boston Post Road, Wilbraham. Interested participants can register by visiting www.wilbrahamrec.com. Participating children should bring their glove, a water bottle, and bat and helmet (if able). Ideal attire includes a cap, baseball pants, and cleats or athletic sneakers. Questions about this year’s clinics can be directed to the Valley Blue Sox by e-mail at [email protected]

‘Roots & Boots ’90s Electric Throwdown Tour’

Sept. 7: The Melha Shriners, in conjunction with the Three County Fairgrounds in Northampton, will present a day-long country music festival at the fairgrounds from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The “Roots & Boots ’90s Electric Throwdown Tour” will bring a full day of music with six country acts, featuring nationally renowned artists Sammy Kershaw, Collin Raye, and Aaron Tippin. Popular local bands King Kountry, Southern Rain, and Cottonwood will also perform. Ticket prices are $30 (general admission, advance sale), $35 (general admission, day of the show) and $40 (reserved seating). General admission is free for children under 5. Tickets are available online at 3countyfair.com/events. The gates will open at 10 a.m., with on-site parking available for $5 per vehicle. Food, beer, and wine will be available for purchase. No outside food or beverages will be permitted. General admission patrons are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets; however, beach umbrellas and pop-up tents are not allowed. Sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information, contact event chair Shonn Monday at (413) 800-2312.

Golf Tournament to Fight Childhood Hunger

Sept. 30: It’s a sad reality that one in six children in the U.S. goes hungry every day, but it’s a reality Feed the Kids is trying to change. The group will hold its second annual charity golf tournament to benefit No Kid Hungry and the HPS Weekend Backpack Program at Springfield Country Club, 1375 Elm St., West Springfield. No Kid Hungry is a national organization that raises funds to support school breakfast programs, summer meals, afterschool meals, and more for children throughout the country. The HPS Weekend Backpack Program distributes bags of nutritious and easy-to-prepare meals to children at the end of each week that they can enjoy over the weekend. Feed the Kids is currently seeking donations for the tournament’s silent auction, individual and corporate sponsors, and, of course, golfers. Check-in for the scramble-format tournament will begin at 10 a.m., with a shotgun start at noon. The fee is $160 per golfer, which includes greens fees, driving range, cart use, lunch, cocktail hour, dinner, and a gift bag. There will also be prizes, a raffle, and an auction. To make a cash donation, donate an item for the raffle or auction, learn more about sponsorship opportunities, or register to golf or for the dinner, visit feedthekidsgolf.com.

‘One Ocean, One People’

Oct. 24: Springfield College will host deep ocean explorer and environmentalist Fabien Cousteau and explorer and filmmaker Céline Cousteau for an evening titled “One Ocean, One People: The Cousteau Legacy and a Call for Environmental Action,” starting at 7:30 p.m. Fabien and Céline are the grandchildren of legendary explorer Jacque-Yves Cousteau. This event is free and open to the public. Both Fabien and Céline will highlight their commitment to fulfilling their family’s legacy of protecting and preserving the planet’s extensive and endangered marine inhabitants and habitats. Fabien stresses the need for bold and innovative thinking to progress conservation efforts worldwide. He encourages individuals to follow their own curiosity in developing cutting-edge solutions that can address regional and global environmental challenges. Through powerful storytelling, Céline uses her voyages around the world to offer a thoughtful perspective on the connection of the environment to populations around the world and how this knowledge is vital to the future of each person on the planet.

Community Spotlight

Community Spotlight

Woodlawn Shopping Plaza

An architect’s rendering of the housing project planned for the Woodlawn Shopping Plaza.

Rocco Falcone acknowledged that, when he and fellow partners Andy Yee and Peter Picknelly acquired the Woodlawn Shopping Plaza on Newton Street in South Hadley in 2016, they were making that sizable investment at a time when the world of retail was changing — and shrinking.

And they knew then that the plaza, dominated by a closed Big Y supermarket, might not look like it did years down the road — not that they didn’t try to find a strong retail anchor to fill the role that Big Y played.

“We knew there was going to be an unlikelihood that we’d be able to get another supermarket, although we tried like heck to — we talked to a number of chains, local, national, and international,” said Falcone, manager of South Hadley Plaza LLC, the entity created to acquire the property, and perhaps better known as president and CEO of the Rocky’s Ace Hardware chain. “When we bought it, we kept it in our minds that it might not be a supermarket — or even retail.”

And the Woodlawn Shopping Plaza will, indeed, take on a new look — and role that goes beyond shopping — with the announcement of plans to build 72 mixed-income apartments on a three-acre portion of the plaza where the Big Y once stood; a public hearing is slated on the proposal for June 26 at the South Hadley library.

Town Administrator Mike Sullivan, former mayor of Holyoke, sees the proposed housing project as an opportunity for the community, one that could change the face of an underperforming property (the plaza), perhaps spur new business development at the site and elsewhere, and even boost enrollment at the town’s schools, which have seen their numbers declining in recent years.

“We knew there was going to be an unlikelihood that we’d be able to get another supermarket, although we tried like heck to — we talked to a number of chains, local, national, and international. When we bought it, we kept it in our minds that it might not be a supermarket — or even retail.”

The announced plans for the plaza comprise one of a number of intriguing developments in South Hadley, a community of nearly 18,000 people that has always been an attractive place to live and has been working for decades to balance its strong neighborhoods with new business opportunities.

Others include progress toward an update of the community’s master plan; introduction of a new option for ultra-high-speed internet service, called FiberSonic, to town residents; efforts to work with neighboring Granby to bring more order to a hodgepodge of zoning on the Route 202 corridor; apparent progress in bringing the town’s long-underperforming municipal golf course, the Ledges, to self-sustainability; and even a new dog park on the Ledges property.

“Dog parks have become somewhat of a recreational amenity in many communities, including Northampton, Granby, and many other cities and towns,” said Sullivan. “It’s surprising how many people are really into their dogs; this is a quality-of-life issue, and at least this will put another 100 to 200 South Hadley residents onto property that they’re paying for. They don’t golf, but they have a dog.”

For the latest installment of its Community Spotlight series, BusinessWest looks at these various developments in South Hadley and how they are part of ongoing efforts to make the community a better place to work, live, and start a business.

Getting out of the Rough

Golf courses, especially municipal golf courses, usually don’t generate many headlines.

The Ledges has been a notable exception to that rule. Since it opened at the start of this century, it has been in the news often — and for all the wrong reasons. Indeed, conceived and built as Tiger Woods was rocketing to stardom and golf was booming as a sport and a business, the picturesque Ledges, with breathtaking views of the Holyoke Range, was projected to a be a strong revenue generator for the community.

Suffice it to say things haven’t worked out that way. In fact, the course has been a financial drain, racking up deficits of more than $1 million some years, and into six figures most years.

Town Administrator Mike Sullivan

Town Administrator Mike Sullivan says new high-speed Internet service, called FiberSonic might spur more young professionals to move to South Hadley.

Sullivan, who inherited this problem, took the aggressive step of outsourcing not only maintenance of the course, but overall management of the facility, with the goal of turning things around and making the Ledges self-sustaining.

Mike Fontaine, the course’s general manager and an employee of Lakeland, Fla.-based International Golf Maintenance (IGM), which manages more than 30 courses across the country, is optimistic that some kind of corner has been turned at the Ledges. He noted that the shortfall was smaller last year (Sullivan pegged it at roughly $35,000) — despite unrelenting rains that made 2018 a difficult year for every golf course — and that, even with more rain early this year, the course is on track to improve on last year’s numbers and continue on an upward trajectory.

He said IGM’s efforts comprise work in progress, but added that a number of steps have been taken to improve the visitor experience and, thus, generate more revenue for the town. Work has been done to build a management team, place more emphasis on customer service, and give the 19th hole, an important revenue stream for all golf operations, a new look and feel. And even a new name.

“We gave the whole place a facelift, especially the restaurant,” he explained. “It was time for a fresh coat of paint, work behind the bar, new pictures of the golf course on the walls, moving the TVs, changing the name from Valley View restaurant to the Sunset Grille, and going with a whole new brand and marketing campaign.”

The new name highlights one of the course’s hallmarks — dramatic sunsets — and attempts to capitalize on that asset, said Fontaine, who said was inspired by what he saw in Key West, which is famous for its sunsets and people turning out to watch them.

He said the course has generally done well with visitation — 25,000 rounds last year — but needs a break from Mother Nature as well as a break from the negative publicity that hasn’t been good for business.

South Hadley at a Glance

Year Incorporated: 1775
Population: 17,791
Area: 18.4 square miles
County: Hampshire
Residential and commercial tax rate: $20.15 (Fire District 1); $20.55 (Fire District 2)
Median Household Income: $46,678
Median Family Income: $58,693
Type of government: Town meeting
Largest Employers: Mount Holyoke College; the Loomis Communities; Coveris Advanced Coatings; Big Y
* Latest information available

“We’re beating the numbers from last year, and we’re hitting our revenue goals despite losing three weekends in a row, including Mother’s Day weekend, due to rain — money we’ll never get back,” he said. “We’ll have a much better understanding of where we’re at when this year is over.”

While the picture seems to be improving at the Ledges, the picture is changing on Newton Street, especially at the Woodlawn Shopping Plaza.

While there is still significant retail there — the plaza is home to a Rocky’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Dollar General, the Egg & I restaurant (a recent addition), the Parthenon restaurant, Mandarin Gourmet, and more — the former Big Y site was proving difficult to redevelop, said Falcone, noting that, after efforts to find a replacement supermarket were exhausted, the building was razed in 2018 with the goal of bringing more options to the fore, including residential.

The proposed 72-unit apartment complex will fill a need within the community for both affordable and market-rate housing, said Falcone, adding that this reuse is consistent with how many malls and shopping plazas are being repurposed at a time when stores are closing at an alarming rate and malls — and communities — are forced to be imaginative in a changing retail landscape.

“We looked at options to possibly subdivide the Big Y property, but we couldn’t get any junior anchors,” said Falcone, adding that the owners spent roughly the past year and half looking for smaller tenants, but to no avail.

“Retail is changing — people are getting away from retail and putting more focus on service and entertainment,” he said, adding that the town created an overlay district within the Newton Street area that allows for mixed-use development and residential space, which brings us to the plans currently on the table.

“We thought this would be a good option and a good opportunity,” said Falcone, adding that research revealed demand for such housing. “If you look at Village Commons, those apartments are always full, and my understanding is there’s a waiting list to get in there. So we think South Hadley is a great community for some additional housing.”

Sullivan agreed. “We’re a vibrant community for condominium development, and there’s considerable demand for them — we have condominiums on the riverfront selling for more than $400,000,” he noted. “But we think this proposed development balances things out; it provides another option for housing.”

The Gig-speed Economy

They’re called ‘fiberhoods.’

That’s the name the South Hadley Electric Light Department (SHELD) has given to areas, or neighborhoods, in the community that will be provided with FiberSonic, which will make gigabit-speed internet available to residential homes; the service is already available to South Hadley businesses.

SHELD is starting in the Ridge Road area — the service will be available there in July — and will proceed to the Old Lyman Road fiberhood in August, and the Hollywood Street area in September. By year’s end, 700 homes should be covered by the project, and the 32 identified fiberhoods will be added in phases over the next five years, said Sean Fitzgerald, SHELD’s general manager.

“Establishing fiber-optic internet service throughout the town will bring added convenience and, more importantly, will accommodate the ever-growing bandwidth need for South Hadley customers,” said Fitzgerald, who described FiberSonic as “home-grown, gig-speed Internet.”

This service should help make South Hadley a more attractive option for a growing number of professionals who essentially call the office home, even as they work for companies in Boston, New York, and Seattle, said Sullivan.

“When you can access a high-paying job in New York City, Boston, Montreal, or even Los Angeles, and you might have to only go to the home office once a month or once a week and the rest of the day work at home, your housing costs are lower and quality of life is higher in Western Mass.,” he explained. “We’re seeing more of this in South Hadley, and the new internet service will make this community even more attractive.”

As the overall pace of change accelerates, the town looks to anticipate what the future might bring — and be prepared for it — with an update to a master plan drafted roughly a decade ago.

That document, the town’s first master plan in more than three decades, included no less than 200 recommended actions, said Town Planner Richard Harris, noting that this represents an obviously unachievable number, although many have been implemented, especially in the realms of housing, recreation, and creation of growth districts.

He expects that the updated plan, to be completed by year’s end, will be more strategic in nature.

“While it will still be broad, because the nature of a master plan is broad, we’re expecting it to be more strategic in focus and more related to the current organizational structure and long-term needs of the community,” he told BusinessWest. “I wouldn’t expect as much focus on zoning and land use as the last plan, and instead more on how to capitalize on what we have done.”

There have been a number of community forums staged to solicit commentary and input about the plan and what it should include, as well as smaller, more informal sessions within neighborhoods called “meetings in a box,” said Harris, adding that a draft of a new plan should be ready for additional review by the fall and a final document in place by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the town isn’t waiting for the new plan to address a long-term concern and probable hindrance to growth — the hodgepodge of zoning along the Route 202 corridor, roughly from Route 33 into Granby Town Commons.

“Both towns have the leftover remnants of a ’60s regional road,” he explained, noting that there are homes next to dinosaur-track stops next to other forms of business. “It’s not very well-organized; there’s a weird mix, and we think there is a real need for conformity.

“If we could get that conformity, there’s enough business traffic going into Belchertown, Ware, and, beyond that, Amherst — and we can harness that traffic,” he went on, adding there have been discussions with officials in Granby about zoning and also infrastructure and perhaps tying properties along that corridor into South Hadley’s sewer system, a development that would benefit both communities.

“We hope this will bring more investment to those commercial properties along 202 in South Hadley,” Harris explained. “That will result in more tax dollars — and it would be great to have more people to share the tax burden with.”

Bottom Line

Those last sentiments accurately reflect a goal, and an ongoing challenge, spanning decades: creating more opportunities to share the tax burden.

South Hadley has always been a great place to live — and now also play golf and walk your dog. Greater balance in the form of new businesses and better use of existing and potential commercial property has always been a goal and priority.

And between the proposed new housing project, faster internet service, and progress along the Route 202 corridor, the community is making more headway toward realizing that goal.

George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]

Agenda

JA Inspire Career Exploration Fair

May 28: Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts (JAWM), now celebrating its centennial anniversary, will host the JA Inspire Career Exploration Fair from 8 a.m. to noon at the MassMutual Center, 1277 Main St., Springfield. The JA Inspire program provides students with the opportunity to learn about careers from industry representatives in time to begin planning for high-school coursework and better prepare themselves for life after graduation. The program consists of four in-class lessons, plus the career exploration fair, all designed to engage students and help them explore education and career pathways, showcase careers in Western Mass. with a focus on high-wage and high-demand industries, and connect students with industry representatives who can share career advice and offer interactive exhibits during the career fair. Exhibitor space is still available at no charge. Exhibitors will present interactive and engaging career stations, while providing volunteer mentors to staff the career stations throughout the event. To reserve a career station, contact Connolly at (413) 747-7670 or [email protected] To learn more about the event, visit jawm.org/events or call (413) 747-7670.

Bay Path Graduate Spring Open House

May 29: Ready to take your career to the next level? A professional headshot and a graduate degree can help take you there. Attendees of Bay Path University’s spring graduate open house can meet with programs directors, faculty, admissions team members, and financial-aid representatives, and learn about the graduate-school admissions process, ways to finance an education, and more than 30 graduate degrees and certificates available at Bay Path University online or on campus, while enjoying light refreshments and entering to win raffle prizes. A professional photographer will also be at the event taking free headshots, perfect for use on a LinkedIn profile or résumé. The spring graduate open house is slated for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Bay Path’s Longmeadow campus at 588 Longmeadow St. For more information or to register, visit baypath.edu/visit or e-mail [email protected].

Girls on the Run 5K

June 2: Girls on the Run of Western MA will host its 5K celebration at 10:30 a.m at Springfield College. The mission of Girls on the Run is to inspire girls to be healthy, joyful, and confident using an experiential-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. Girls on the Run is a physical-activity-based, positive youth-development program that uses fun running games and dynamic discussions to teach life skills to girls in third through eighth grade. During the 10-week program, girls participate in lessons that foster confidence, build peer connections, and encourage community service while they prepare for an end-of-season, celebratory 5K event. Participation in the 5K event on June 2 is open to the public. About 950 girls from 68 school sites around Western Mass., as well as 280 volunteer coaches, have participated in the program this season. Around 2,500 participants are expected at the event. The pre-registration cost is $25 for adults and $10 for children and includes a Girls on the Run 5K event shirt. After a group warm-up, the event will begin on the outdoor track on Alden Street and will continue through the campus. Registration is open at www.girlsontherunwesternma.org, and will also be available the day of the event beginning at 9 a.m. For more information about the event, how to register, and volunteer opportunities, visit www.girlsontherunwesternma.org.

Family Business Center Leadership Summit

June 4: The Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley is gathering leaders of Western Mass. companies, agencies, and organizations to explore together the upcoming trends and forces all will need to respond to. About 100 local leaders will participate in a World Café-style session at the Log Cabin in Holyoke, led by strategic leadership coach Ingrid Bredenberg, that will result in an improved perspective on paths forward into the inevitable future. Tickets are $35 (there are also discount packages, sponsor opportunities, and roles as scribes and table hosts), and includes a networking-style dinner and a relevant, practical, stimulating exploration. The FBC is doing this to mark its 25th anniversary and first-ever leadership transition with an event that will creates wins and takeaways for all. For more information and to register, e-mail fambizpv.com/leadershipsummit.

Community Action Awards

June 13: Springfield Partners for Community Action will present a night of celebrating those in action within the community. The Community Action Awards will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Springfield Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. It will be a night of speakers, awards, handing out scholarships to Community Scholarship winners, and a silent auction for guests to participate in. Ticket purchase is available at communityactionevent.eventbrite.com. Springfield Partners for Community Action is the federally designated community action agency of Springfield whose mission is to provide resources that assist those in need to obtain economic stability and ultimately create a better way of life. For more information on the event, contact Natalia Arocho at (413) 263-6500, ext. 6516, or [email protected].

Paid Family and Medical Leave Seminar

June 20: Over the past few months, Massachusetts-based employers have been inundated with information about the upcoming Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave requirements. Unfortunately, this deluge of information has done little to answer employers’ pressing questions. The draft regulations are just that: a draft, and subject to change prior to the issuance of final regulations. But we do know some things for sure, and there is still some time before employer obligations go into effect. Royal, P.C. will host a discussion of the steps employers can begin to take to prepare for the implementation of Paid Family and Medical Leave. The event will be held from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at 270 Pleasant St., Northampton. The price is $30 per person, and registration is limited. For more information or to register, contact Heather Loges at (413) 586-2288 or [email protected].

40 Under Forty Gala

June 20: BusinessWest will present its 13th annual 40 Under Forty Gala, a celebration of 40 young business and civic leaders in Western Mass. The lavish cocktail party, to begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Log Cabin in Holyoke, will feature butlered hors d’oeuvres, food stations, and entertainment — and, of course, the presentation of the class of 2019, which is profiled in the April 29 issue of BusinessWest and at BusinessWest.com. Also, the fifth Continued Excellence Award honoree will be announced. Limited standing-room-only tickets are still available for $75 per person. For more information, call (413) 781-8600, ext. 100, or e-mail [email protected]. PeoplesBank is the presenting sponsor, Health New England is the Continued Excellence Award sponsor, and WWLP-22 News is the media sponsor. Other sponsors include Baystate Health, the Isenberg School of Management, MP CPAs, Mercedes-Benz of Springfield, Live Nation, MGM Springfield, Comcast Business, and YPS of Greater Springfield (partner).

‘Thrive After 55’ Wellness Fair

June 21: State Sen. Eric Lesser announced that he will host the third annual “Thrive After 55” Wellness Fair in partnership with Health New England, Springfield College, and the Center for Human Development (CHD). This year’s fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Field House on the campus of Springfield College, 263 Alden St., Springfield. The fair is free and open to the public. With more than 70 local organizations ranging from health and fitness to nutrition and elder law, the annual fair will connect residents of the Greater Springfield area with information and resources to help them thrive. The event will feature several educational seminars which will highlight areas of interest for attendees, including estate planning and elder law, scam avoidance, and diet and nutrition. Heart Song Yoga Center of East Longmeadow will return for a third year with an interactive demonstration of chair yoga and movement. The free program includes a boxed lunch, hundreds of raffle prizes, and access to information and experts. To RSVP, call Lesser’s office at (413) 526-6501 or visit senatorlesser.com/thrive.

Filmmaking Workshops

June 24-28, July 8-12: The Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative (BFMC) will host two summer filmmaking workshops: one for 15- to 19-year-olds from Monday, June 24 to Friday, June 28, and one for 11- to 14-year-olds from Monday July 8 to Friday, July 12. These week-long workshops will meet daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Berkshire Community College’s South County Campus, 343 Main St., Great Barrington. Early dropoff (9 a.m.) and late pickup (5 p.m.) is available by request. The purpose of the workshops are twofold: for kids to experience what it’s like to work on a real movie crew from creation of an idea to the final edit of the project, and for the group to produce a high-quality short film championed in every aspect by everyone in the group. The kids will work collaboratively — performing as actors on camera; running the lights, camera, and sound; editing; and marketing the film’s premiere to the community. On the final night, parents, friends, and the public will be invited to attend, and the young filmmakers will participate in a question-and-answer session with the audience. Each participant will walk away with a copy of the film and the experience of creating a professional-quality film together. Specific topics covered will include story structure, screenwriting, character development, cinematography, sound recording and mixing, lighting, editing, sound design, and marketing. The course is being taught by writer, director, actor, and educator Patrick Toole. All equipment will be provided. The cost for the week-long workshop is $325. Students will need to bring lunch. Class size is limited. To register online, visit shop.berkshirecc.edu or call (413) 236-2127.