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The boarded-up windows of the Hoosac Mill have been painted cheery colors while plans are made for the building's restoration.

North Adams Mill Will Be Restored Says Owner

By Stephen DravisSpecial to iBerkshires
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The damage can be seen through the windows of the building in this file photo. Two large sections of the massive building buckled because of heavy snow.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city's eastern gateway got a little more colorful this spring, but it is just a small step on a larger journey to refurbish a landmark.

The owner of the Hoosac Mill in April and May painted the plywood covering windows at the vacant structure and the garage doors in an effort to beautify the property in the short term.

His long term goal remains to again make the structure, which he has renamed NoAMA (North Adams, MA), usable after a roof collapse forced its shuttering early last year.

"It was a little bit of the artist in me," Ariel Sutain said of the paint job brightening the drive along Union Street (Route 2).

"Obviously, we're going through a major renovation here, and we had to board up the windows. We decided to do it in colors."

The structure was being used largely for paid storage; a section on the west end unaffected by the collapse was set up as gallery space.

Sutain said he expects within six weeks to hear proposals from the Pittsfield firm Barry Engineers and Constructors, whom he has hired to plan the renovation.

"These things never go as fast as you would like, but it's going in the right direction," he said.

Sutain said he is optimistic he will be able to begin reconstruction on the former textile mill this year.

"Dealing with a 100-year-old building in 2012 is a little bit different," he said. "It's just a little bit tricky dealing with a collapsed roof and then ... taking down sections of the building and then rebuilding."

One thing he never considered was the option of taking down the mill and building from scratch on the site.

"That was never a consideration," Sutain said. "It's 106 years old, and we're doing everything we can to make sure it continues the way it was."

Sutain said he anticipates being able to use the building again as a storage facility once the renovations are completed.

In the meantime, he is happy to be able to add a little beauty to the unoccupied mill.

"I guess [former] Mayor [John] Barrett would be glad to have us quote him: 'In order to attract, we have to be attractive,'" Sutain said.

Tags: building project,   collapse,   Hoosac Mill,   

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