NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Community Development Committee is considering ways for citizens to get involved.
Meeting Tuesday for the first time this year, the committee now headed by David Bond discussed an agenda for the future that included streamlining information on permitting and making access easier for residents to volunteer their time.
Resident Mark Trottier said he had been disappointed at the lack of communication with the administration after offering his services last year.
He said he became involved because of attending the Finance Committee and would like to do issues and complaint research. Other citizens, he thought, would also like to help out.
"Now that you have more of an open-door policy, just to know that it's offered for [citizens]," said Trottier. "What can you get from the community to help out?"
"We were trying to figure out the best official way for citizens to contact folks at the city and offer a service they have, a skill they have, a certain amount of time they may have and then we can present it to a certain department," said Bond.
The committee said there may be opportunities for citizens to help in the parks, cleanups, volunteering at city events such as the upcoming Winterfest or with local organizations.
Committee member Nancy Bullett, who also serves on the Windsor Lake Recreation Commission, said there could be opportunities to help up at Fish Pond and the campground. "It's new energy, positive kind of stuff," she said the commission is working on.
There are projects looking for volunteers, said committee member Lisa Blackmer, pointing to work done during the Martin Luther King Day of Service and the upcoming Community Service Day. While some of it is physical — cleaning, painting — different skills could be useful. Even an hour puttering around the city parks and playgrounds "keeping an eye on things," she said, would be helpful.
"If there are more people around, people are less apt to be negative and they're also less apt to trash the place," she said.
Bullett said the problem is "trying to figure out a vehicle to pool all of these potential resources."
Bond said he would talk to the mayor about possibly using an intern to develop a hub for residents to list their skills to be matched with local projects and activities. In the meantime, he said residents can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will try to get them in touch with the right department.
Residents should contact Veronica Bosley, director of tourism and events, at 413-664-6180.
In brainstorming initiatives for the committee, Blackmer said the panel had had a slate of resurrecting some form of the old Downtown Development Inc., developing a marketing plan for the city, creating a website and streamlining permitting.
Develop North Adams had taken over some of the DDI functions, but the committee had stalled on marketing and the website because of a lack of money and the departure of the former tourism director. (Current Tourism and Events Director Veronica Bosley is working on an events website with DNA.)
The committee decided that making it easier for businesses to determine what permits they needed to start a business would be a manageble, and useful, goal.
Bond said he had somebody from out of town go to City Hall as a "sort of a guinea pig" to see how the process worked.
"He got the runaround and didn't know where to go, because it's very difficult to say who's doing what, who's responsible for what," said Bond. "We need to simplify the process and hand them a packet specific to the type of business they have."
Blackmer said retail shops reopening in retail spaces, or moving down the street, shouldn't have to jump through hoops to find out what to do and people planning events should have an easy checklist.
Bond was concerned the city wasn't prepared to provide businesses with crucial information, especially online.
"People are looking around the globe for where to relocate a business and they happen to come across North Adams, I'd like to have a clear, concise way for them to find out what we have available in North Adams," he said. "We're not really competing on the same level as other communities."
The committee hopes to bring in employees and members of other boards involved in the process to discuss how it works and how to make it easier.
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This can be the start to something good a more of a open door policy, but it must include the Mayor and the full City Council, with open eyes, maybe smaller government and all working together and not the citizen fighting the administration all of the time. "Time Will Tell" Its now the Citys ballgame.
What a strange meeting -at least the info flowing from it--so DNA has assumed some of the goals or tasks of DDI--but ran out of money--partly because Rod Bunt left--they didn't want Rod Bunt- he was too much of an events guy--and now they have found that they couldn't replace him--Veronica Bosley was hired to replace Bunt and do more marketing of the City-- so what is she doing-- trying to set up an events website that DNA couldn't --all part of the gang that couldn't shoot straight--as for Mark Trootier- local gadfly- snoop and know it all--he wants the Mayor and Council to get on board and make him some official snoop and investigator--he is no friend of the Alcombright administration and no fan of the City Council--he wants to play Mayor or Councilor----great- run for the office---don't expect any consideration from either of those given his behavior at the Council meetings--he should stick his head through a sheet of sheet rock--and investigate what's behind it
This brainstorming about how to streamline the permiting process has been going on for 3 years. They may want to consider streamlining their brainstorming.
If they feel a brochure is needed, create one.
If they feel a devoted section of the cities website is needed, create one.
Blackmere and Bond have been harping about permitting and marketing since Dick got into office but havent done a thing to move the city forward. The city offices are open 5 days a week, the fact that no one has been able to compile a list of applicable permits and requirements is sad. Whether its a lack of implementation by the Mayor, or effort to compile the information by the sub-committees, their ability to accomplish goals is humorous.
Typical politicians, too much thinking (if thats what they call it now a days) and not enough doing.
At one time there was a brochure available in the Building Inspector's Office that directed interested parties to the correct offices--don't know if it's still there but that was during the Barrett administration in an effort to try to streamline the process--that being said- it's not the Council's responsibility- it falls to the administration under which the overall aspects of permitting fall
To Mr. CHBpod or as I say but have been incorrect at times former councilor Clark H. B ?
Just to set the record correct, I was ask by Chairman David Bond, If I might like to attend this meeting, I never ask anyone, Yes, I did say once back in July, What can a citizen do to help this city out, and yes no response till now.
If I wanted to run for office I would put my name in, but have no plans for now.
So please get your facts correct, or maybe just get your head out of your rear before you speak about others.
BYOB? That's keeping on topic. It was brought to the council six months ago to consider an ordnance. There have been public meetings. There is no urgency since state laws are in place. It wasn't a concern with the previous administration for 26 years. Why does this administration need to rush on it? Since unrelated posts are allowed lets talk about Ideophobia. It's obvious some of those that post have it.
They are on to something - the city needs to have a very easy pro business process if it wants to turn things around ASAP. Other communities across the USA have an easy process, and even financial incentives such as bank financing lined up for companies trying to take a risk. The mayor should be able to at least get that set up with his former job.
Competition is nation-wide now and every city needs to appear attractive to get the business. Another thing the citizens need to do is change their attitude to more boosterism. The naysayers keep people out.
Before the grouchy trolls comment, I'll add this is not selling out, it's good communication. Any incentives should always come with safeguards and ways of measuring success.
Editor: IMHO, it's not selling out to offer incentives, as long as the conditions tied to those incentives are clear and manageable. Providing information on which local banks to go to for commercial loans, or working with the banks for "start up" pools for funding would be a big step. And yes, the grouchy trolls can effect business decisions to relocate here. Grouchies will no longer be tolerated if they all they do is whine.
14u BYOB was on topic. They talked about ways to streamline things to help businesses. That is an understatement. As I pointed out something that should be so simple has taken almost a year. I am sorry if you do not like the truth. The mayor and city council just keep passing the buck. Some needs to take charge to get anything done. The city has NO LEADER .
To chbpod AKA CH Billings, No mirror, your facts are not correct, I was the first and only one since last july who ask what can a person do to help ouy the city and no reply, tell me I'am wrong, but its your comment everyone has one.
Just maybe I'am bring a few things to light by asking questions and just maybe someone might just do something, and that would be good, nothing in it for me but your comments.
email me if you would like to know more
Tomuchbull61@yahoo.com I'll be looking for your reply.
We need a committee to work with the city council to help them steamline an over bloated and expanded city govenrment that is no longer working for the people of N.A. Question to the editor. Any thoughts how one can be formed? Would we need to petition the council? Or just place the item on the agenda?
Editor: I think first you would need to determine what you mean by "overbloated." What would the focus of the committee be? Permitting? Consolidation of departments? - not that there's much to consolidate. IMHO, a general "let's streamline" won't get as much support as concrete goals with examples of what you think are wrong.