Moody Campgrounds

Appeal deadline over, Moody Center campground to go forward


Staff Writer for Greenfield Recorder

Published: 6/25/2021 5:27:42 PM

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NORTHFIELD — Having passed the 30-day appeal period regarding a summary judgment, The Moody Center plans to move forward with developing the Idyllwood campground, with a potential timeline of opening by summer 2022.

The Planning Board held several meetings and a public hearing to discuss the campground between July and October 2019. According to presentations made during the public hearing process, the campground would be built on a 76-acre Moody Center property along Pierson Road. It would consist of roughly 12 cabins and 27 “large furnished tents,” with rates of approximately $125 a night.

Residents who live near and around the planned campground property contended the Planning Board exceeded its authority in granting the special permit for the campground in October 2019 and filed an appeal of the board’s decision in Franklin County Superior Court. In May, the case against The Moody Center’s proposed campground was dismissed in Superior Court following a summary judgment issued by Judge Michael Callan.

With the legal case in the rearview mirror, Moody Center Vice President and Chief Operating Officer James Spencer said next steps for the Idyllwood campground project will be to obtain the necessary permits. If work proceeds as planned, he said the center is hopeful the campground will be open by next summer.

“The Moody Center is pleased to have this matter behind us and that the ruling confirms that all necessary steps were taken so that the project is in compliance,” Spencer said via email. “Our desire is to avoid these sort of delays and significant legal expenses for all parties involved as we participate in the recently formed Campus Center Community Collaborative Committee. We remain committed to making improvements in the Northfield community with more projects to be announced in the future.”

Earlier this year, the Selectboard established the 13-member Campus Center Community Collaborative Committee, or CCCCC (pronounced C5). This committee was formed in the wake of conversation that arose from a November 2020 announcement that The Moody Center planned to propose a $12 million project renovating the historic Moore Cottage and old bookstore on Moody Street, and constructing housing units and a new welcome center. This was met with concern from residents, who argued the plans would upend the nature of the historic neighborhood. Not long after the November announcement, a group of residents formed NorthfieldCAN (Community Action Network) in a bid to protect the town’s historic and rural character.

Following initial pushback from residents, Spencer announced in January that the center was withdrawing the proposal until it could be reviewed by the newly established committee. The Campus Center Community Collaborative Committee has since held multiple meetings, establishing a mission statement and laying groundwork for future conversations on specific projects.

The Moody Center also plans to renovate Revell and Holton halls into an inn on its campus. This proposal was supported by the Historical Commission, as well as former Chair Carol Lebo and Northfield Area Tourism and Business Association (NATABA) founders Steve and Joan Stoia, last spring. In November 2020, Christian Arnold, the principal architect at Clockwork Architecture, whose company will be involved with both the inn and campground projects, said the plan is to convert Revell and Holton halls into a 24-room inn.

“The nature of our ministry, particularly the preservation and restoration of the historic grounds and facilities, requires that we consider carefully ongoing sustainability,” Spencer said in his email this week. “The campground project along with other plans such as the Revell-Holton restoration are intended to allow us to preserve the Moody Center property long-term.”

Zack DeLuca can be reached at or 413-930-4579.

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