North Adams Skating Rink Vandalized
Stall doors in the bathrooms were kicked by ice-skate clad vandals at the Peter W. Foote Memorial Skating Rink.
Mayor Richard Alcombright points to urinal dividers that were destroyed. The dividers will need new brackets and anchoring system.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Vandals caused thousands of dollars of damage Friday at the Peter W. Foote Vietnam Veterans Memorial Skating Rink.
Both the men's and the women's restrooms were damaged during Friday night's community skating time. In the recently renovated restrooms, urinal dividers were torn down, the doors were kicked with skates leaving dents, some of the concrete was chipped and one of the sinks was chipped. A full footprint was found near the ceiling where a skater had climbed onto the sinks.
The city will have to spend thousands of dollars to replace all of the damaged items.
"It's on the city's dime to keep this maintained. Somebody has to pay for this," Mayor Richard Alcombright said Monday. "We're not going to tolerate vandalism in this building."
Public Safety Commissioner E. John Morrocco said police are accepting anonymous tips and if the perpetrators are found they will be prosecuted "to the full extent of the law" and have to pay for the damages. Additionally, a police officer will be patrolling the rink during the final two nights of community skate time.
"You can have a successful prosecution without an eyewitness," Morrocco said. "With the city having limited resources, this is crazy."
Anywhere from 250 to 300 children were at the rink Friday night and the rink's small staff was unable to finger the culprits. Placing an officer there will help deter vandalism but comes as an additional cost to the city, Alcombright said.
"It's unfortunate that we have to put an officer here," Alcombright said. "We just want to have a nice facility. This is a place for families."
Alcombright was informed of the damage Monday morning via e-mail and went to inspect the damage later.
The bathrooms at the skating rink were newly refurbished in April through grant funding of $160,000. According to Michael Nuvallie, of the city's office of community development, the bathrooms were one of several phases of renovations. Close to $2 million has been invested in the rink, he said.
Public Safety Commissioner E. John Morrocco vowed to prosecute the culprits to the full extent of the law.
"We've been chipping away at this for years," Nuvallie said. "We're up near the $2 million mark and we're not done."
Renovations began in 2007 when they city took over the rink's operations with a new roof and each year the city applies for grants to continue fixing the place up.
A new floor, mechanical room, boards and glass and doors have also been renovated, Nuvallie said. The next step is infrared heaters for the benches and renovating the parking lot will follow, he said.
|Tags: Skating rink, Vandalism, North Adams|
Bisque, Beads & Beyond Looking At McClelland's Storefront
Bisque, Beads & Beyond owner Donna Rivers at the grand opening of her Pittsfield location. Rivers may host another ribbon-cutting ceremony as she now looks to open a second storefront on Main Street in North Adams.
McClelland's Office Supply closed up its Main Street location last week after 28 years.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The empty space of McClelland's Office Supply has barely had the chance to get cold before a prospective replacement was found.
Pittsfield-based arts and crafts store Bisque, Beads and Beyond will look at the Main Street location as a possible second storefront. The company already has a store on North Street in Pittsfield but according to owner Donna Rivers, more than 30 percent of her business comes from the north.
"I've been looking at North County for five years," Rivers said on Friday. "We wouldn't be moving. This location is working well for me so we'd be opening a second store."
Rivers said she was approached by city councilors about the 85 Main St. location after the office supply store decided to close. Rivers expects to look at the site next week with David Bond, who does commercial leasing for the building's owner, Scarafoni Associates. Bond is also a city councilor.
"I think this is the type of business we need downtown," Bond said on Monday. "My goal is by the end of the year to fill all the empty spots downtown."
The crafts store had come close to a downtown location before but the deals always fell through, she said. The business requires a lot of space to accommodate its materials and many workshops at a reasonable price and McClelland's may be just right. The space previously was Apothecary Hall, once renowned for its mocha sundaes.
"I've looked a couple times under the previous administration but I couldn't put it together," Rivers said. "It's definitely a possibility. If I don't do it now, I don't know when there will be another chance."
According to Bond, the McClelland's building is 3,000 square feet - right in the range Rivers is hoping for. If Rivers likes the location, the two will negotiate a rental price, Bond said.
"We're willing to work with anyone to make the numbers work," Bond said. "We'll have an honest discussion about what the business can afford for rent and we'll set up a rent structure that would work."
Rivers said city councilors have been helpful in ushering in the possible expansion and told her the business would fit well with the city's long-term plans.
"We'd be a really good mix up there," Rivers said.
Bond said the craft store fits because it is unique, is not a competitor with the "big box stores" and brings the creative element that the city is trying to embrace.
McClelland's announced it was closing in early January, after 28 years at several locations on Main Street, and was liquidating its merchandise.
Shortly after Bond met Rivers through common friends and found out she wanted a North County location.
On Wednesday, the McClelland's lettering over the windows was scraped off. The store sold greeting cards, gifts and limited stationery and office supplies. Its store on Spring Street in Williamstown closed last year after more than 80 years in business.
Rivers opened her North Street location last July. The store offers workshops in ceramics, beading and other crafts to all ages.
Edited with more information on Feb. 26, 2011, at 2:30 p.m.
Edited with quotes from David Bond on Feb. 28, 2011 at 3:49 p.m.
|Tags: Main Street, North Adams, Bisque Beads and Beyond, McClelland's|
National Guard Resumes Training At Harriman
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nope. A helicopter.
Residents have been hearing helicopters recently flying overhead while the National Guard does weekly training exercises at Harriman and West Airport. Though they have been doing the training for years, it took a hiatus while the airport was closed during the summer.
"They do training. The terrain around here is similar to what they see overseas," Airport General Manager Champney said. "They have been following proper procedure but I did have a noise complaint from a Williamstown resident last week."
According to Champney, the National Guard uses the public airport once or twice a week and has for the last four years. However, the summer silence is gone with the reopening and the helicopters loom in the air. Thursday afternoon saw the most recent.
Champney said the helicopters are not flying low nor with an increased frequency yet some residents have taken special notice to them recently.
"I'm surprised of all the hub-bub," Champney said. "They've been doing it the same frequency for four years."
|Tags: North Adams, Harriman and West Airport, National Guard|
Santa's Spending Time In Downtown North Adams
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. – The elves may be busy in the North Pole but Santa Claus is spending his days on Main Street.
|Tags: Santa, North Adams, Main Street, Christmas|