Adams Gets Block Grant for Streetscape Project

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Adams has received federal funds to move forward with its streetscape project on Park Street. The town has seen a number of facade projects, seen in this file photo, as its downtown revitalization plan has rolled along.

ADAMS, Mass. — The downtown will see some significant construction next year as the long-awaited Park Street streetscape project gets under way.

Gov. Deval Patrick on Friday announced that Adams had received a Community Development Block Grant of $900,000 for the project, as part of some $31 million in the federal funds awarded to 38 cities and towns across the state.

North Adams also received $900,000, the maximum for a single community, for continued work on the North Adams Armory for a community center and Americans with Disabilities Act access improvements.

"We're very excited with the news to get the grant," said Town Administrator Jonathan Butler, who added the streetscape is considered the culmination of the town's downtown revitalization efforts over the past decade. "Actually, this was seen as the capstone."

The project was conceived as part of a downtown development plan adopted in 2003. Actual planning and design did not begin until 2010, with further modifications following a series of public hearings.

This round, the streetscape was put forward as the No. 1 project on the CDBG application.

Butler said that while the project is considered "shovel-ready," it will take six to eight weeks working with engineer Tighe & Bond to turn the two years of design into a bid package. That puts the four- to five-month construction off until the beginning of next season.

"We'll put together a plan for how we'll schedule this process," said Butler. "And get public input on the project details."

Previous grants have been used for facade improvements, the creation of Armory Court and other pocket parks, renovations or repairs of town buildings, parking lots and demolition among other downtown renovations to revitalize the town and remove blight. A smaller portion of the grant will be used to rehabilitate 10 housing units, adding to the 98 already completed.

North Adams will use its award for a variety of purposes, although the Armory and ADA renovations are priorities. The Armory has undergone a series of phased work using CDBG funds, including revamping the gymnasium and adding an elevator. About $400,000 of the grant is targeted to further ADA compliance issues at the Armory, renovate some second-floor offices and begin renovations of the basement kitchen for community event use.

The city is also under orders by the U.S. Department of Justice to conform with ADA requirements at municipal fields and facilities, so part of the grant will go toward those efforts at the Alcombright Complex. Also on the list is demolition of two properties and support of social services.  

"When we invest in infrastructure projects in our communities, we put people to work and leave a better Commonwealth for the next generation," said Patrick. "We thank the Obama administration and our congressional delegation for their continued commitment to investing in our future."

Tags: ADA,   Armory,   athletic complex,   CDBG,   Park Street,   street project,   streetscape,   

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