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Alcombright Seeks Funds for Campground, Lake

Tammy Daniels

Mayor Alcombright says the aged concession and public bathrooms at Fish Pond are an embarrasment.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The City Council on Tuesday will be asked to authorize up to $150,000 in borrowing to update Windsor Lake (Fish Pond) and its campground.

Mayor Richard Alcombright told the Finance Committee on Thursday afternoon that the money would be used to revamp the two bathroom buildings at Historic Vally Campground and build a new concession stand and bathroom facility closer to the beach.

"The idea is how can we renew the excitement and enthusiasm about the lake," said the mayor. "It's a beautiful, beautiful place."

Alcombright said the two bathroom buildings built in 1969 are in a state of disrepair; the concession stand and public bathrooms at the lake "are in deplorable condition, they are embarrassing quite honestly."

The concession and facilities were built in 1959. They are now located far away from the public beach area as is the playground equipment.

"It's inconvenient, it's old, it's nonfunctional," said the mayor. "Considering the idea is to enhance the lake, to remarket the lake [we would] build a new concession/restroom building on the green space as you walk toward the beach."

The estimated cost for refurbishing and making the campground bathrooms handicapped accessible would be $60,000; building a new one-story concession modeled after the one at Noel Field about $70,000 to $80,000. The playground would be moved and needs new equipment.

A possible beach volleyball court could be put in but Windsor Lake Recreation Commission Chairman George Forgea said that would not be included in the borrowing. "There may be other ways to do that."

A lot of the exterior work would be done by McCann Technical School students and most of the rest done by city workers. The cost would be primarily materials.

Revenues from the lake and campground go into the general fund. Forgea said the campground "is nowhere near the capacity of the revenue it could generate." But the park is in dire need of upgrades beyond just the bathrooms: its roads and buildings need serious upgrading as do the sewer and electrical.

"The wiring goes back to 1969," said Forgea. "We had several campers who came up and found we only had 20-amp service and turned around and left."

The campground isn't prepared for the larger campers and their multiple appliances. Forgea said the idea isn't to turn the campground into a "Disneyland" but to make it attractive to the types of people who are coming to spend money at places like the local museums and theaters. They're not coming in tents, he said.

Of the park's 100 campsites, 48 were occupied by seasonholders but the remaining 52 had only a 30 percent occupancy rate.

Some changes are already under way. After operating on a cash only basis for decades, campers will now be able to use charge cards, make reservations online and, more importantly, be required to make deposits. A new management team will take over in the spring as well.

Finance Committee members were in favor of the investment because of the likely future return.

"Any money spent on the lake is money well spent," said committee Chairman Michael Bloom.

In other business, the committee voted to recommend borrowing for $650,000 to complete the the $6.3 million airport project. The matter was referred to the committee at the last council meeting.

"It's our obligation as a city to finish this airport," said the mayor. "This is an amount of money we can work with to get this done."

The city would use $150,000 to complete its 2.5 percent match of the runway funding (another 2.5 percent is being paid by the state and the rest by the federal government). The balance of the borrowing would used to pay any overruns regarding the Runway Safety Areas.

The RSA work is currently in litigation over a dispute with a subcontractor regarding the design and amount of work needed to complete it.

"The bonding request that the mayor sent [the council] is larger than the estimated local share of the project," said Administrative Officer Jay Green. "That is to have a buffer zone to make sure we're covered."

Not all money may be used, he said, because there is a federal wetlands grant for the project that may provide more funding. The city's attorney is in talks with the subcontractor to reach a settlement.


NA Letter Winds or Lake

Tags: campground, lake, airport      
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Voting Registration Deadlines

:: Preliminary Election: Deadline to register is Wednesday, Sept. 7. (Office open from 8 to 8.)
:: General Election: Deadline to register is Tuesday, Oct. 18

Registration can be completed at the city clerk's office at City Hall.

Absentee ballots are now available at the city clerk's office for the Sept. 27 preliminary city election. Voters may come in between the hours of 8 and 4:30 weekdays. Written reguests for mailed ballots can be sent to City Clerk's Office, 10 Main St., North Adams, MA 01247. Deadline for absentee ballots is Monday, Sept. 26, at noon.

The preliminary election will be held Tuesday, Sept. 27, to narrow the field of three mayoral candidates to two. The general election to select nine city councilors and a mayor will be held Tuesday, Nov. 8.


City Council

Returned Papers
As of 8/9 at 5 p.m.
 Lisa M. Blackmer* Yes
 Michael Bloom Yes
 Keith Bona* Yes
 David Bond* Yes
 Marie Harpin* Yes
 Alan Marden* Yes
 John Barrett Yes
 Eric R. Buddington Yes
 Nancy P. Bullett Yes
 Robert Cardimino Yes
 Catherine Chaput Yes
 Roland G. Gardner  
 Diane M. Gallese-Parsons  Yes
Shane Gaudreau  
 James B. Gyurasz  Yes
 Michael Hernandez  Yes
 Jennifer Breen Kirsch  Yes
Brian L. Flagg  
 Kellie A. Morrison  Yes
 Greg Roach  Yes
 Gail Kolis Sellers  Yes
18 candidates returned papers
 Richard J. Alcombright*  Yes
 Ronald A. Boucher  Yes
 Robert Martelle  Yes
 Preliminary election will eliminate one
 School Committee  
 Mary Lou Accetta* Yes
 Lawrence K. Taft* Yes
 Leonard Giroux Jr.  Yes
 Tara J. Jacobs  Yes
 David Lamarre Yes
McCann School Committee  
 George M. Canales Yes

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