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Charlemont’s legacy businesses are still in play

  • Avery's Store on Main Street in Charlemont. Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ


Saturday, October 13, 2018

Here are some brief thoughts on some of the events taking place around Franklin County and the North Quabbin area:

We’re not sure if we are seeing commercial churn or promise in Charlemont of late.

We may finally learn the fate of the historic but vacant Charlemont Inn by year’s end. The vacant inn’s owners must obtain a loan by Nov. 3 to fix the condemned property and make agreed-upon repairs by Jan. 1, or risk losing the historic inn to a court-appointed receiver.

According to an agreement signed in July, Charlemont Inn co-owner Charlotte Dewey has 120 days to get a loan for $185,176, which would pay for several building improvements.

Dewey said she hopes to have the first floor of the historic inn operational by year’s end with a tavern, restaurant and banquet room.

It seems like we’ve passed this way several times before. Nonetheless, we hope for the best because a revived inn would be a great thing for this town that has seen growth in recent times as more people discover the recreational pleasures of the Deerfield River and Berkshire East.

Avery’s again

Meanwhile, a different Charlemont landmark, 157-year-old A.L. Avery & Son General Store, is looking for a new owner. Jim and Barbara (MacLean) Sinclair bought Avery’s in 2016, have made some improvements and now, having accomplished those goals, they are reluctantly stepping away from the business.

Sinclair said the store is flourishing, and the second-floor, which was completely renovated, has been rented.

Sinclair said he and his wife, who grew up in Charlemont, will continue living in town and plan to some day retire here.

We hope they find the buyer they want, someone who will maintain the legacy of this charming, old-style general store.

Greenfield web takes shape

Like a spider patiently weaving a web, Greenfield’s municipal broadband organization continues to build out the city Wi-Fi network.

It has been a long time coming, but the fiber optic needed is about four to five months away from 80 percent coverage, we’ve been told.

The main suburban area of Greenfield — from Silver Street and Wildwood Avenue to Russell and Main streets and from Route 91 to Rocky Ridge Road — should expect to have Greenfield Community Energy and Technology internet installed and accessible within that time, according to John Lunt, general manager of GCET.

GCET recently reached 700 customers and one year of customer growth.

“We are going as fast as we can, and we’ve had to be realistic with people,” Lunt said. “We’ve made a lot of progress.”

That’s still slower than we want and were told originally, but at least the drama of internecine warfare in City Hall over GCET’s original management is behind us.

Stay in peace

New England Peace Pagoda in Leverett recently celebrated its 33rd anniversary.

The Japanese Buddhist ceremony offered interfaith prayers by area religious leaders. Such inter-faith openness has been a hallmark of the Pagoda’s monks since they first moved to Cave Hill.

“We commit ourselves, body, mind and soul, to the practice of nonviolence,” said the Venerable Brother Gyoway Kato, presiding monk, reading from a passage that was originally written for the pagoda’s inauguration three decades ago. “The practice of nonviolence is a struggle, within and without,” he said.

The New England Peace Pagoda — the stupa of which was completed in 1985 entirely by volunteers — is one of about 80 peace pagodas worldwide.

“Our prayer is the abolition of nuclear weapons and nuclear power,” said Sister Clare Carter of the pagoda’s Buddhist order.

Amen.

Shelburne Falls rising

It’s hard to deny that the village of Shelburne Falls is one of America’s “Great Places” – as the American Planning Association concluded this year. So, it’s only fitting the residents of the village – which straddles the Deerfield River and includes parts of Buckland and Shelburne – gather next Thursday to celebrate at the Shelburne-Buckland Community Center.

The event, like the popular tourist attraction itself, is open to “anyone who loves Shelburne Falls,” according to the Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association.

Guess we’ll go.