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Brian Miksic, center, discusses the new Develop North Adams group at press conference on Eagle Street.

Green Space First Goal for Develop North Adams

By Tammy Daniels
iBerkshires Staff
04:36PM / Thursday, April 29, 2010
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Brian Miksic, left, and Mayor Richard Alcombright explain the group's genesis.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The new Develop North Adams organization is looking to make the city more inviting for people and business.

"Our mission focuses on three main areas: marketing and promotion, strategic planning for business, retention and recruitment and city projects and development," said its President Brian Miksic on Thursday afternoon at a press conference announcing the group's establishment. "We'll strive to better market our city to residents, tourists and businesses alike."

Standing on a vacant lot on Eagle Street with fellow board members and local officials, Miksic said the bare spot will be transformed into "A beautiful downtown green space that can be used by the entire community.

"We look to develop this spot and may other spots in the city and redevelop green space throughout our community."

The land was donated to the city by Eric Rudd and Peter May after their building, which housed Tropical Gardens, was heavily damaged by fire. Miksic said the association shared their vision in making the city greener and that the installation of benches — long a controversial topic in the city — would be done in conjunction with the development of green space.

"Just sticking benches around doesn't really do anything," he said. "We need to improve the green space and add green space."

Green space, along with better traffic patterns and signage, is just the most immediate and somewhat inexpensive project that the group is tackling. It's first event is Saturday's Community Day of Service, being done in partnership with Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. The citywide cleanup starts at 9:30 a.m. with volunteers meeting at the Church Street Center.

DNA's official mission is to recruit, retain and promote business and it will create a subcommittee to work with new and existing businesses. It will also promote and expand upon city events and work in partnership with local educational and cultural

Develop North Adams is private nonprofit being built on the foundations of the old Downtown Development Inc. (the charter was rewritten and the name changed to reflect a focus on the entire city) and former NorthAdamsIdeas.com, which was created to begin engaging the community until the more formal association could be formed.

Initial funding is coming from the city and private donations; further funding will likely come from grants and it expects to hire an executive director.


Among the board members are Blair Benjamin, left, Steve Green, Tom Bernard and Ryley Gaudreau.
"This is a North Adams effort," said Mayor Richard Alcombright. "We hope this is going to help North Adams at all levels. This is not just about downstreet merchants, it's not just about light manufacturing — it's about anything and everything we can put our hands on."

The board is made up of 16 people representing local business, educational, financial and cultural entities that Miksic and Alcombright described as diverse several times.

"Mayor Alcombright spoke often of re-energizing the business community throughout his campaign and I'd like to thank him for being such a big part of putting this out," said Miksic. "Without the collaboration of the city, a group such as ours would be unable to fulfill its mission."

Alcombright said he expects results: "I'm looking for wonderful things with this group."
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