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iBerkshires.com Columnist Section

Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Ronald Boucher: City Council Candidate

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Wednesday, October 05, 2005

City Council incumbent candidate Ronald Boucher
•SEE VIDEO INTERVIEW
•SEE VIDEO INTERVIEW

North Adams – Ronald Boucher, 48, of 645 Barbour St., said that he isn’t troubled by those who believe that as a city councilor, he serves as a “rubber stamp” for city Mayor John Barrett III.

“If being a rubber stamp is keeping North Adams moving forward, then you can call me a rubber stamp,” Boucher said during an Oct. 3 interview. “I look at North Adams today from the time I became a city councilor and I think the city is looking good.”

Boucher is among eight incumbents and seven challengers vying for nine city council seats during a Nov. 8 city election. City Councilor William Donovan announced earlier this month that he will be moving from the city and is no longer seeking reelection to the council.

Boucher is seeking a fourth two-year council term. He believes that he is a voice for city residents and wants to keep city services intact as well as “keep the ball rolling” for city growth, he said.

“What motivates me to keep coming back [as an elected councilor] is to be a voice for the people,” he said. “It sounds corny, but it’s true.”

Boucher said that he is not someone who "makes mountains out of molehills" and is someone who wants to keep the city moving forward.

"Keep the Ball Rolling"

Boucher said that of the numerous proposals that come to the council, some find agreement, others are a source of disagreement, and no matter what the individual views, councilors work to find a “middle ground and keep the ball rolling.”

“There’s one goal right now and that’s to keep North Adams going and keep taking care of the residents,” Boucher said.

Dollar-type stores and “high end” stores are not appropriate for the K-mart plaza, Boucher said, and added that he believes a mid-size store such as a Peebles department would work well in a plaza development plan.

Peebles would be “perfect” for the plaza, he said.
“The business will survive and people will shop there,” he said. “I think we have to have retail over there [at the K-mart plaza].

Boucher said that he is very aware of the per capita income of city residents and believes that a store offering expensive merchandise would be unable to remain in business at the K-mart site. Stores that offer quality merchandise at prices city residents can afford are needed in the city, he said.

He supports bringing benches to Main Street, but would like to face the benches toward the buildings so that people could appreciate the downtown architecture, he said.

“It’s beautiful,” he said. “The buildings are beautiful down there.”

Benches would bring a “come on down, sit down” atmosphere to the street, Boucher said.

Colgrove Park and Jobs

He is an advocate of bringing green space to the Main Street area, Boucher said. A city resident has suggested taking advantage of Colgrove Park for that purpose, and he believes the idea has merit, Boucher said. The park could be used to host concerts, outdoor movies, and other community events, he said.

“It’s an idea. It will create traffic. Create traffic and people will go into the stores.”

Adding housing to the downtown may not be the best strategy for generating downtown traffic, Boucher said, and noted that housing is in place in the downtown.

“I think, to me, good solid retail…that’s my thinking,” he said.

Boucher said that the arts community has been “very, very good” for the city, but stressed that jobs are needed for the city’s residents.

“There are other things we need to do,” he said. “The art world has brought a lot of good things to this community. We need to do more. We need hard core jobs that can employ the locals.”

Boucher said that the era of "big industry" is gone and the city needs to attract "satellite businesses" that offer good wages and benefits.

"That's what's lacking in the city right now," he said.

City Services

And while jobs for city residents are integral, meeting the needs of the elderly and the city’s youth are also priorities, Boucher said.

“We have to make sure that our services are there, that streets are plowed in the winter, a fire department that’s staffed correctly, a police department,” Boucher said. “Those are the things that we can make an impact on as city councilors, besides budgetary issues.”

Boucher is the city council liaison to the Hoosac Water Quality District and is also a HWQD commissioner representing the city along with HWQD Commissioner John Moresi. Two Williamstown commissioners round out the HWQD commission panel.

“It’s always a challenge,” Boucher said of the commissioner role. “When I first was appointed to that board, I didn’t realize the ramifications.”

The “ramifications” involve fighting to keep the HWQD services affordable to city residents and delving into HWQD budget issues, Boucher said.

Boucher is married to Ellen Boucher, and the couple has three children. He is employed by Ecolab, a national sanitation supply sales firm.

Boucher said that he is eager to continue serving as a city councilor.

“Whenever a decision is being made, I thoroughly look through it, to my inner self, and say ‘is it good for the city and for its people,’” he said. “And that’s not being corny, either, that’s how I really am. I care about people. I want to do the best thing possible. One thing about being a city councilor, you have to have thick, thick skin, because it’s that type of ball game. If you don’t like that, you have to get out.”

Boucher said that he wants to stay in.

“I’ll continue to work hard and in the city's best interest,” Boucher said.

Susan Bush can be reached via e-mail at suebush@iberkshires.com or at 802-823-9367.
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