Home About Archives RSS Feed

North Adams Mulling Ideas for Armory

Tammy Daniels

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city is hoping to begin discussions late in the summer on the best ways to reuse the former state Armory building as a community center.

The former National Guard headquarters on Ashland Street is in the midst of an estimated $5 million overhaul — but the going's been tough because the funding has been dribbling in through Community Development Block Grants.

"We can't get our arms around $5 million at a clip," said Michael Nuvallie of the city's Office of Community Development in his presentation to the Parks and Recreation Commission on Wednesday night. "We can get our arms around $300,000, $200,000, another $150,000 and we keep fixing that old car."

The city bought the structure from the state in 2007 with the vision of turning it into a community center. The building's gym has long been used for high school and youth sports and its location within walking distance of the downtown, senior housing and the college, and along public and school bus routes.

The project has gone through four phases of work already: the repair and replacement of the roofs; rebuilding of the front and side stairs; the design of an elevator; and the installation of the elevator to address handicapped accessibility.

The fifth and more substantial phase is being prepared for bidding in the next few weeks. It will include the installation of new gas heating systems, a three-phased electrical system, new handicapped restrooms on the first floor near the elevator and new concession stand for the gym. The total cost is estimated at $800,000.

Construction is expected to begin in the spring and continue through the summer. The expectation is the gym and new entrance area by the elevators will be completed for the youth basketball league to move back in.

The city is already applying for more block grant funds to continue the ongoing project, said Nuvallie. "The building is old, it needs to be updated in every shape and form."

While the vision has always been to transform the building into a community center, the youth basketball league is the only concrete use decided so far. The amount of work ("very grinding") necessary on the building has kept the focus on construction, not reuse.

There is extensive space in the basement and first and second floor that could be used for leasing purposes for agencies or groups or programs. The goal would be to make the building sustainable in the same way the skating rink is. It might also become the headquarters for the Parks & Recreation Commission and the Youth Commission.

Mike Nuvallie updated the commission and a handful of residents on Wednesday on the work done to date at the Armory.

"My initial vision is the fact that you'd want agencies in there that not only would obviously do what they do but could establish programming and be there for the building," said Mayor Richard Alcombright. "Whoever is in there would have to sustain this kind of community model."

Residents, particularly the new Youth Commission, the mayor assured commission member Kate Merrigan and Councilor Michael Boland, would have input into what type of programming would be used.

"Over the next six months or as this new phase begins, that's when we can really start to have some community conversations of what this can become," he said.

A lot more work is required. The second-floor offices have extensive water damage, the basement has been neglected but offers a mess kitchen and lots of activity space and the parking area needs an estimated $400,000 in paving and landscaping.

"We want it to look quite spectaular when it's done," said the mayor.

Tags: armory      

Support Local News

We show up at hurricanes, budget meetings, high school games, accidents, fires and community events. We show up at celebrations and tragedies and everything in between. We show up so our readers can learn about pivotal events that affect their communities and their lives.

How important is local news to you? You can support independent, unbiased journalism and help iBerkshires grow for as a little as the cost of a cup of coffee a week.

News Headlines
Williamstown's Foehl Scores Game-Winner for Williams Men
Ricci-Munn Wins Josh Billings Ironman Title
Veteran Spotlight: A Vietnam Diary, Part II
Pittsfield Community Preservation Panel Has $643K Budget For FY22
Pittsfield Street Improvement Project Schedule: Sept. 20-24
Mount Greylock Alum Backstops MCLA Men to Frist Win
Williams Volleyball Opens 7-0
Letter: Support for Lynette Bond for mayor
Speakers at Voices of Recovery Encourage Sharing, Connection
Freeman Center's 'Rise For Safety and Justice' Walks Aim to Represent All

Voting Registration Deadlines

:: Preliminary Election: Deadline to register is Wednesday, Sept. 7. (Office open from 8 to 8.)
:: General Election: Deadline to register is Tuesday, Oct. 18

Registration can be completed at the city clerk's office at City Hall.

Absentee ballots are now available at the city clerk's office for the Sept. 27 preliminary city election. Voters may come in between the hours of 8 and 4:30 weekdays. Written reguests for mailed ballots can be sent to City Clerk's Office, 10 Main St., North Adams, MA 01247. Deadline for absentee ballots is Monday, Sept. 26, at noon.

The preliminary election will be held Tuesday, Sept. 27, to narrow the field of three mayoral candidates to two. The general election to select nine city councilors and a mayor will be held Tuesday, Nov. 8.


City Council

Returned Papers
As of 8/9 at 5 p.m.
 Lisa M. Blackmer* Yes
 Michael Bloom Yes
 Keith Bona* Yes
 David Bond* Yes
 Marie Harpin* Yes
 Alan Marden* Yes
 John Barrett Yes
 Eric R. Buddington Yes
 Nancy P. Bullett Yes
 Robert Cardimino Yes
 Catherine Chaput Yes
 Roland G. Gardner  
 Diane M. Gallese-Parsons  Yes
Shane Gaudreau  
 James B. Gyurasz  Yes
 Michael Hernandez  Yes
 Jennifer Breen Kirsch  Yes
Brian L. Flagg  
 Kellie A. Morrison  Yes
 Greg Roach  Yes
 Gail Kolis Sellers  Yes
18 candidates returned papers
 Richard J. Alcombright*  Yes
 Ronald A. Boucher  Yes
 Robert Martelle  Yes
 Preliminary election will eliminate one
 School Committee  
 Mary Lou Accetta* Yes
 Lawrence K. Taft* Yes
 Leonard Giroux Jr.  Yes
 Tara J. Jacobs  Yes
 David Lamarre Yes
McCann School Committee  
 George M. Canales Yes

Polling stations

St. Elizabeth's Parish Center

Ward 1
Ward 2
Ward 3
Ward 5

Greylock Elementary School

Ward 4

Draft Budget FY2012

School Budget FY2012

Compensation Plan

Classification Schedule 

Fiscal 2011 Budget

Fiscal 2011 Tax Classification

North Adams Audit 2010

North Adams Single Audit 2010

North Adams Management Letters 2010

North Adams School Building Options

Boards & Committees (58)
budget (17)
buildings (12)
City Council (47)
City Hall (8)
Courts (1)
Development (19)
DNA (4)
Downtown (48)
Events (29)
Fun Stuff (32)
Hadley Overpass (2)
Heritage State Park (5)
Housing (2)
Inspections (3)
Library (1)
Mayor (49)
MCLA (8)
MoCA (10)
People (30)
Planning Board (9)
projects (31)
Relations (2)
Schools (24)
Services (14)
stores (19)
Streets (21)
Fall Foliage Sullivan Insurance Wilco Tourism Agenda Restaurants Finance Committee School Project Ordinance Windsor Lake Hometown Holidays Campground Hardman Industrial Park Vendors Jobs Election Trees Conte Airport Armory Master Plan North Adams Ordinances Main Street Planning Board Holiday Shopping Budget Lue Gim Gong Zoning Water Transcript Scarafoni Override
Popular Entries:
City Council Tackles Heavy Agenda
Main Street Brings Back Mystery Shopper
North Adams Tree Lighting Kicks Off Shopping Events
Scarafoni Asks for Tax Deal on Transcript Building
Alcombright Wants Less Bureaucracy For Vendors
Holiday Stop a Beneficial Presence
Historic Valley Campground Sets Open House
Transcript Building Sale Gets Final OK
Conte School Option Prompts Protest
West End Market's Time Running Out
Recent Entries:
Public Safety Committee OKs Montana Parking Ban
Eclipse Residents Query Mayor on Collapsing Neighbor
Walmart Expected to Submit Plans for New Store
School Committee Endorses 2-School Plan
North Adams Water Safe to Drink
City Questions Parking Ticket Revenue
City Council Agenda for Aug. 23, 2011
Planning Board to Look at Ordinance Change
Mattress Maker Picks Green Mountain Site
City Still Pursuing Bedmaker