|Williamstown Select Board Remembers Dan Gendron|
|By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff|
03:50AM / Tuesday, June 26, 2018
|Site work is under way at the former Turner House on Simonds Road, where Williamstown is building a new police station.|
Town Manager Jason Hoch displays one of the high-visibility vests the town's Council on Aging acquired for walkers and bicyclists.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Select Board members Monday recognized the passing of longtime town official Daniel Gendron, remembering him for his dedication to the town and his willingness to make reasoned, thoughtful arguments rather than going along with the crowd.
"Dan and I didn't agree on everything, but with Dan, you always got a reciprocal agreement we were fighting for what was right for the town," Hugh Daley said.
"He never made it personal, and he never took it personally. That's something I try to emulate: believing the other person is always trying to do what's right."
Andy Hogeland remembered Gendron as a good sounding board to help Hogeland think through town issues.
"For me, he was just a great person to talk to," Hogeland said. "I miss him already."
Gendron, a former member of the Board of Selectmen, also served on the Sign Commission, the Public Safety Building Study Committee and the Master Plan Steering Committee, among other roles. He was a 12-year member of the Finance Committee when he died earlier this month.
"My first experience with Dan was my first [Community Preservation Committee] meeting," Jeffrey Thomas said, referencing another of the ways Gendron served the town. "I came in cold. I didn't understand what was happening, what the issues were.
"Dan called out a proposal as basically being a 'NIMBY'-based proposal. He was confrontational, and he was right. I came to appreciate over the years how he balanced his convictions with understanding and information and thought."
A funeral Mass will be held for Gendron on Wednesday at 11 a.m. at St. Patrick's Church on Southworth Street.
"He was a one of a kind guy that I'm confident I will never forget," Jane Patton said. "I can only hope to have some level of the impact on the town that he has."
Monday's meeting marked the first with new Select Board Chair Anne O'Connor.
The board heard presentations from a consultant who helped the town do an Americans with Disabilities Act survey and representatives from the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, which is teaming with the Williamstown Police Department to do compliance checks on town establishments that sell alcohol.
The Select Board also approved the appointment of Brian Cole to the town's Agriculture Commission.
Cole, a 2011 Williams College graduate who returned to town recently to operate a small vegetable farm on Oblong Road, used his appearance at Town Hall and before the community access television cameras to plug the Saturday morning farmer's market at the bottom of Spring Street.
"The farmer's market has come a long way," Cole said. "To the town, consider coming down and doing some of your shopping there."
Anne O'Connor leads her first meeting at Select Board chair.
"I went on Saturday, and I was blown away," he said. "It's expanded probably another 50 percent from last year. I know Anne Hogeland has done a ton of work to recruit new farmers and craftspeople. It's a fun thing to do on a Saturday morning."
Town Manager Jason Hoch also reported that the town's Council on Aging recently acquired yellow high-visibility vests that are available to all residents interested in an added layer of safety while walking or biking on public roads.
"This came through our grant from Mass Elder Affairs," Hoch said. "That said, these are not exclusive only to those considering themselves an elder."
Hoch said the vests will be available at Town Hall, the Harper Center and the police station.
Speaking of the police station, the town's new station on Simonds Road is progressing on schedule, Hoch reported.
"Over the next couple of weeks, site prep work is underway," he said. "The construction trailer arrival is imminent. Fencing is going up. … All is moving swimmingly."