The restoration of the Armory enters its next stage with the receipt of another federal grant.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city has recieved $900,000 in Community Development Block Grant Funding for continued renovation of the Armory, handicapped accessibility improvements at Noel Field Athletic Complex and other initiatives.
The city was one of 46 communities in the state, and the only one in Berkshire County, to receive block grant funding in this round. Gov. Deval Patrick announced on Tuesday that some $26.8 million in federal CDBG funding will got to support housing rehabilitation, public service projects and local infrastructure.
"These grants are critical investments to help communities fix up homes and roadways and provide much-needed local services for residents while putting people to work," said Patrick.
Michael Nuvallie of the city's Office of Community Development said some $300,000 of the funds will go toward "Phase 7" of the renovation of the former National Guard Armory on Ashland Street into a community and youth center. The next step will be the revamping of old office space on the first and second floors of the building for the use of social service or youth agencies.
"We haven't determined the ultimate programming use for that space yet," he said. The goal is to have a daily presence in the building and a stable rental income. "We may be reaching out the social service agencies that need rental space and would be a good fit."
The Armory has already undergone a number of repairs and renovations, including the addition of an elevator for handicapped accessibility, the first floor restrooms, concession stand and gym, which reopened this winter for youth basketball.
At Noel Field, the old restroom on the north side installed when the bleachers were torn down in 1980, is too antiquated, too small and not handicapped accessible. A new facility will be constructed and other Americans With Disabilities Act compliance issues, such as walkways, will be made, along with improvements at the tennis and basketball courts.
Some of the funding will go toward completing the city's master plan, for demolition, and funding for social service support for the first time in years. Nuvallie said the city will assist no more than five social service programs providing support to citizens. He expected a request for proposals would be issued in the next several months.
"This $900,000 is a jolt of capital infusion into the community that will provide all kinds of construction jobs in the short-term," said Nuvallie. "It also gets us back into social service support, which we haven't done since the 1990s. It's a good mix of a variety of things."
The CDBG program is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and funds are distributed by the state's Department of Housing and Community Development to cities and towns in Massachusetts with populations of less than 50,000.
"These funds will allow communities across my district to undertake much needed improvements and maintain vital social services," said U.S. Rep. John Olver. "Given the lingering effects of the recent economic downturn, such investments are more important than ever. I welcome today's announcement and offer my congratulations to all the awardees."
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