Home About Archives RSS Feed

Heritage Park Getting a Facelift

By Tammy Daniels

The city is hoping to spruce up Western Gateway Heritage State Park this spring with paint, landscaping and upgraded doors and windows.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city is looking to pump more than $300,000 in repairs and renovations into Western Gateway Heritage State Park this spring. The hope is to have the park ready to take advantage of the completion of the Hadley Overpass and a state signage program in 2012.

"We see this now as a unique opportunity at the right time with all development that's going on to further utilize Heritage State Park," Mayor Richard Alcombright told the Redevelopment Authority on Monday. "The thing is we have to make it better or do something with it and generate some community interest ... or sell it."

The proposed renovations would include a complete landscape redesign at a cost of $100,000 to $150,000, resetting of the cobblestones, painting, replacement of doors and windows on several buildings, a new roof on Building 4, decking, and new signage. The mayor said he also would like to create a playground or child-friendly stations throughout the park.

The mayor looks over parking options at the park with the Redevelopment Authority. Right, the caboose has been locked up for awhile because of safety issues. It needs restoration and won't be included in the sprucing up this spring.

The city has operated the park since the 1980s and its success has varied over the years. Its best-known tenant is the Freight Yard Pub; it also has a museum operated by the North Adams Historical Society, a quilt shop, theater group, coffee distributor, Northern Berkshire Community Television studios and state visitors center and museum. It's been particularly hard hit because of the ongoing work on the Hadley Overpass.

"The park is losing somewhere around $20,000 or so a year," said the mayor. "We're hopeful that with the improvements this summer, with a recommitment of the city to provide activity down there and the completion of the bridge that this will be money well-spent."

For years, officials had hoped to link the park to the Mount Greylock State Reservation but were blocked by bad road conditions to the mountain. Furnace Street and Reservoir Road have been redone in the last decade and the state spent more than $21 million and two years repairing roads around the summit.

The state Department of Conservation and Recreation is looking to install signage and a kiosk, possibly an information center, at the park to aid visitors in finding their way to the state's highest peak. The main visitors center is on Rockwell Road in Lanesborough; the mountain can also be reached by taking Notch Road off Route 2 through a heavy residential area.

More signage in the right places could lead visitors to the park.

"The hope is that Heritage State Park will become the northside visitors center for Mount Greylock," said the mayor. "What makes us very excited about that is last year, 248,000 visitors reached the summit. Let's assume 15-20 percent go up or down the north side  — that would breathe some life into the park."

He expected to spend $330,000 if the landscaping can be brought in at about $100,000. There is currently $313,000 in the park reserve account, a state grant of $50,000 and, possibly, $50,000 in unrestricted funds from DCR. The city has been maintaining the property but a project this size would be too hard to do internally, said Alcombright.

An easement agreement in being worked out with the owners of the Sons of Italy that could trade parking for access across city property to the sewer line. The parking area created on the south side of the bridge would be retained.

Chairman Paul Hopkins, Michael Leary and Kyle Hanlon were supportive but encouraged the mayor to locate parking spaces closer to the pub. Most complaints, they said, were about the distance patrons had to walk.

"It's a great start," said Leary.

The Redevelopment Authority meets as needed and has purview over select areas of the downtown. It was unclear if the park falls under its jurisdiction and for years the property has been overseen by the mayor's office.

Alcombright said it was the city solicitor's opinion that it should fall under the board, of which the mayor is a member. Besides, he said, he wanted the board in the loop particularly when spending funds.

"It's a good sum of money, it's a big project and we will come back before the authority for an appropriation," he said.

Write a comment - 6 Comments       Tags: renovations      

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
IS183 Art School Announces Virtual Pop-up Holiday Shop
Campaign Aims to Help North Berkshire Families, Restaurants
Pittsfield Schools Extend Remote Learning as COVID Cases Rise
Pittsfield Sets Virtual Tree Lighting for 2020
No Baystate Winter Games Figure Skating in Williamstown this Year
Adams Hosting Holiday Home Decorating Contest
Questions Linger in Wake of Williamstown Cannabis Panel Discussion
Mill Town Begins Construction on 36 New Tyler Street Residences
District Attorney Launches 'High-Risk' Team to Address Domestic Violence
Great Barrington Police Get Traffic Enforcement Grant

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)
Wilco Airport Holiday Zoning Tourism Main Street Restaurants Lue Gim Gong Insurance Budget Scarafoni Ordinances Conte Trees Override Transcript Contest Armory Campground School Project Agenda Fall Foliage Finance Committee Sullivan Planning Board Hardman Industrial Park Parking Master Plan Jobs Water Windsor Lake Election North Adams Hometown Holidays Ordinance
Popular Entries:
Council Will Review Mayoral Term, Public Safety Post
Desperado's Returning to City
Alcombright Seeks Funds for Campground, Lake
North Adams Panel Takes Up Vendor Rules
Conte School Option Prompts Protest
North Adams Rejects Override Proposal
Scarafoni Asks for Tax Deal on Transcript Building
Fall Foliage Children's Parade Celebrates Heroes
Mattress Maker Facing Foreclosure in N.Y.
Main Street Brings Back Mystery Shopper
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