Kringle wicks state money into local road projects

 

Greenfield Recorder 09/17/2011, Page A01

Bernardston intersection, school road pegged for work with matching money from candle company

By DAVID RAINVILLE

Recorder Staff

BERNARDSTON — The Kringle Candle Co. is kicking in more than $200,000 to match a sought-for state grant for road improvements to the intersection that forms the gateway to its growing retail complex.

Bernardston has applied for a grant from the MassWorks Infrastructure Program for partial funding for two roadwork projects costing almost $1 million.

If the application is accepted, the town will receive $674,993, to be used to improve South Street and School Road. The grant requires matching funds — $220,000 from Kr ingle, and $90,000 from the town. The total cost for both projects is $984,993.

The town seeks funding in the amount of $275,000 for the $495,000 South Street project, the difference being paid by Kringle. The project aims to reconfigure and reconstruct the intersection of South Street, West Mountain Road and Bernardston Road, right at the growing company’s doorstep. This, combined with a crosswalk being constructed by Kringle, should provide additional safety to motorists and pedestrians alike, town officials say.

When Kringle heard that Bernardston was applying for a grant for School Road, the company approached the town to see if an economic development project for South Street could be bundled into the same grant. Since then, the company has paid for engineering and design work, a s well as the permits.

The fast-growing, year-old company, started by the son of Yankee Candle Co.’s founder, plans to nearly double its work force over the next three years, said Campbell. In the near future, Kringle will open its new cafe and retail location, across the street from its current South Street store and factory. These developments are expected to significantly increase traffic, necessitating improvements to the intersection, town officials said.

For the School Road project, the town seeks $399,993 from MassWorks, and will put forth $90,000 in matching funds. The short, narrow road leading to Bernardston Elementary School has long been plagued with drainage issues, with puddles that breed insects in the summer and create an ice hazard in the winter. Its width makes it difficult for two vehicles to pass each other, especially school buses and emergency vehicles.

The proposed pro ject includes widening and resurfacing the road, installing additional drainage and upgrading existing drainage, reconstructing the sidewalks, and replacing a water line. The town’s Fire and Water District will contribute $30,000 for the water line replacement. Voters approved $45,000 at an August special town meeting, and the remaining $15,000 of the town’s contribution was spent on a culvert installed in 2008.

“The selectmen are committed to getting School Street repaired properly,” said Hugh Campbell, administrative assistant. He added that, whether or not MassWorks funding is approved, the town will go forward with engineering and design.

MassWorks will announce grant awards on or about Nov. 1. If approved, Campbell said, the South Street project would begin in the spring of 2012, and the School Road project would break ground once school is out for the summer.

David Rainville can be reach ed at:drainville@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 279