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A Landscape for Dreamers: 57 Acres in Great Barrington

Rural Intelligence CommunityDepending on your personal history and point of view, the abandoned Barrington Fairgrounds on Route 7 (across from Guido’s) is an eyesore or an opportunity, an overgrown lot or a field of dreams. It was only 16 years ago that a tornado tore through town and destroyed most of the buildings, which were then rebuilt and briefly used again for the annual agricultural fair and horse races. (See photos below.) “I remember it well,” says Deborah Levinson, the agent for the 57.3 acre parcel that is listed with Berkshire Property Agents. “There were tractor pulls and fried dough, and people would come from far away.” (In fact, according to ESPN, the faigrounds once attracted a crowd of more than 27,000 for a race.)

Rural Intelligence Community“We’ve just put the property on the market again at a new lower price,” says Levinson. “It’s $1.9 million for commercial space in the heart of Great Barrington.” A few years ago, there were developers with big plans to build a hotel and convention center, according to Levinson, but the property includes wetlands and a 100-year floodplain so only about four acres can be built on. “You would probably have to build any new structures on piers,” she says. As a resident of Great Barrington, Levinson is hoping that some civic-minded investors come together to create a mixed-use development that focuses on recreation. “We could have a flea market like Brimfield here. We could have a permanent place for our farmers’ market and possibly for agriculture, too. The Housatonic RiverWalk could be extended. This could be our version of Sheep Meadow. I would really like to bring together people with a like-minded vision to purchase this property.”

Berkshire Property Agents
12 Railroad Street, Great Barrington, MA; 413.429.1910

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An aerial view of the site along the Housatonic River.

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A ghost town within walking distance of downtown.

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The forlorn buildings were rebuilt in the 1990s.

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The grandstand calls out for a visionary architect.

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The site off Route 7 has knockout views of the hills and the river.

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 01/05/11 at 01:40 PM • Permalink