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Mayor Richard Alcombright holds up an illustration of draft plans for Phase II of Noel Field as Julie Sniezek of Guntlow & Associates explains it.

North Adams Pursues Grant to Complete Noel Field Upgrade

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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The city is pursuing a grant for Phase II of improvements at Noel Field Athletic Complex. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city is pursuing a state grant to complete renovations at Noel Park Athletic Field to include a splash pad. 
The City Council on Tuesday approved the application for a $400,000 grant from the Parkland Acquisitions and Renovation for Communities Program, or PARC, through the Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs and authorized Mayor Richard Alcombright to borrow in anticipation of the project. 
If granted, the funds would help complete a plan designed several years ago by Julie Sniezek of Guntlow & Associates to install the splash pad, new basketball courts and other improvements. 
The entire project is estimated at $778,000, with the balanced to be matched from the city's annual Community Development Block Grant funding. 
The city had tried for the grant last year to finish Phase II of the complex renovation but did not get the funds. The year before, it had received the full amount toward the $676,000 skate park set to open at Noel Field on Saturday, July 1, with a celebration from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
"This will be done like the last time using Community Development Block Grant funds and no city money will be used," the mayor said. 
Sniezek said offered an illustration laying out where the double basketball court, splash pad, bocce and pickle ball courts, and reconfigured walking track will run. More detailed plans will be developed should the city receive the PARC grant and Sniezek anticipated public meetings to provide input, similar to the development of the skate park. 
"It really should be a top-notch complex that offers something for everybody," she said. 
The new configuration was made possible with the donation of the former Modern Liquors property by John "Jack" Wadsworth, which opened up the area on State Street for the skate park. With the proposed reduction of the Parks Department building into a possible restrooms/changing room facility, the entire section will open up for various activities. 
"We're trying to create an environment where a family can come down and where parents can keep an eye on multiple kids in multiple places," the mayor said. 
There have been concerns with the removal of the much deteriorated tennis courts in favor of a second basketball court. The mayor said the basketball court has gotten much more use over the years and is full almost every night. 
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts has offered public use of its new tennis courts off West Shaft Road.
Councilor Robert M. Moulton Jr. asked how the splash pad would work and if it would need extra maintenance such as daily draining and cleaning or an attendant. 
Sniezek said the splash pad is basically a paved surface with a slight depression. There are different types of systems, and ones with circulating water and chlorination could be expensive. It's more likely the water would not be circulated but empty into the stormwater system. 
The water would be on a timer, possibly a motion sensor, so it would only run during certain times, and would have different fixtures that will determined as the installation is designed. Sniezek said it would be similar to the splash pad installed at The Common in Pittsfield a few years ago.
"We don't know how many pieces are involved or the cost, but this is the same magnitude of system," she said. 
Councilor Lisa Blackmer said liked the idea of the splash pad.
"I have gotten a lot of positive feedback the people who spoke to me were more excited about the splash park than the skate park," she said. "It's kind of like running through the sprinklers .. it's something that can go to from 2 to 92."
To Moulton's question of attendants, Alcombright said he didn't they were needed but those discussions could be had as the plans were being developed. He thought maintenance would not be a problem the first few years but as the complex aged, a couple more seasonal helpers might be needed.
"What i like about the concept is the mix fo age groups that can be active at the same time," said Councilor Nancy Bullett. "I think it's a great concept."

Tags: grants,   Noel Field,   sports facility,   

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