Road Work Coming to Close for Season
Mayor Alcombright was looking over the lighting situation on Main Street on Wednesday. Top photo, work will continue underneath the Hadley Overpass.
The city has a few more weeks of work as a number of state projects near completion — at least for this fall.
Mayor Richard Alcombright said he'd met Monday for an update with state workers overseeing the four projects now under way in the city.
Concrete pours on the Hadley Overpass decking will end this week, he told the City Council on Tuesday, but "they will be continuing with the extensive structural work being done under the bridge right through the winter, if the weather cooperates."
That could mean traffic delays at times but work on the topside probably will not resume until spring.
Work on the West Main Street bridge over the rail tracks should be completed before Thanksgiving, he said. The sidewalk has been cemented and concrete is being poured this week or next for the deck. The railing has been resecured but hasn't been replaced or painted because it wasn't in the budget. Alcombright said city crews will repaint the rusty railing in the spring.
The new massive light poles on Main Street seem inspired by the city's landmark steeples.
The bridge near West Package Store on State Road will have its deck replaced beginning next week.
"There should be minimal interruption; yes, there will be some slow traffic but that should be completed this construction season," he said. Those most affected will be residents of New Street, which may have to be closed at times; residents will have to loop around to Taft Street to exit onto State Road.
Work on the downtown streetscape project is coming to a close for the season. Corners that have not yet been paved with concrete are being blacktopped for the winter and lightposts are being installed.
"We're hopeful the intersection signaling will be done before the end of the year," said Alcombright.
The blacktopped corners, paving on River and Main streets, sidewalks and lighting on Eagle Street and tree planting around the downtown will be completed in the spring. The work is contractually required to be completed by July 1.
That's not the end of the road work. Alcombright said the state will be beginning work on the decking of another State Road bridge in the year or so. "We're hoping to do the Sacco Bridge next summer because that's very bumpy ride."
|Tags: Hadley, bridges, lights, streetscape|
North Adams Prepping For Holiday Season
City workers installed the main Christmas tree for the holiday season at Monument Square on Wednesday. The tree was donated by Joe and Martha Curro of Minor Road in Lanesborough.
|Tags: holiday, trees|
Fall Foliage Children's Parade Celebrates Heroes
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The downpour stopped long enough Friday evening to allow the Fall Foliage Children's Parade to march down Main Street in North Adams. The drizzle was enough to make the Drury High School band bow out.
But the children were real troopers, with 57 registered and walking in the parade. Once again the costumes were wonderful with lots of heroes (the festival's theme this year was "Our Heroes") including mothers, firefighters, teachers, police, astronauts, cowboys, chefs and more. Slider from the North Adams SteepleCats greeted the kids as they waited for the parade to start and marched with them.
A North Adams Police cruiser led the way and a pair of officers on bike patrol pulled up the rear. Rep. Daniel E. Bosley led the parade down Main Street as a small but very passionate crowd cheered on the kids as they marched to City Hall. Greeting the kids at City Hall was Mayor Richard Alcombright, Rod Bunt from the Mayor's Office of Tourism, Christine Hoyt from the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, City Councilor Lisa Blackmer and Sen. Benjamin B. Downing.
All participants received ribbons and were recognized for their spirit, creativity and coming out on a gloomy evening. Plus, trophies and gift certificates were awarded in various categories.
Thanks were offered to Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts students and Pi Upsilon Omega sorority members Rebecca MCauley, Joanna Gillis, Melanie Callanan, Jessica Krason, Colleen Whalen, Anita Alvarez, Noal Fafard, Jaynelle Bellemore and Madison Hogan, and Kappa Delta Phi sorority members Jessica Fratus, Alyssa LaManna, Kasey Harrington, Sara Giovine, Shelby Ferriere and Emily Minns for their help in setting up, registration, judging and cleaning up at the end.
Children's Parade Winners
1st: Delaney Babcock
2nd: Brayden McKay
3rd: Ethan Daley
1st NAFD: Emily Feder and Taia Byers
2nd: The Chef and his lobster, friends Liliana Pisano and Dominick Pisano
1st: Teachers (including their class pet): Jackson Harnick, Danielle Harnick, Alyssa Russell, Ainsley Russell, Daphne Catelotti
2nd: Moms Hayden Gillooly, Julia Cellanna, Caroline Cellanna, Emma Polumbo, Josh Polumbo, Sarah Polumbo, Will McDonough, Ben McDonough
|Tags: Fall Foliage|
Fall Foliage Weekend Highlights
This year's Autumn Arts & Crafts Festival packed the sunny side of Main Street on Saturday; on the east end, the second annual ROPES Day included kids' games, a small car show and a Jack's Hot Dog Eating Contest.
The fair, a tiny event for years, was significantly expanded this year under volunteer coordinator Jennifer Barbeau. (It wouldn't have happened at all if Barbeau and her cadre of volunteers hadn't stepped in.) Some 78 vendors ranging from food to jewelry to arts to a wide range of crafts set up along the both sides of Main Street's eastbound lane.
Above, the local team claims victory in the hot dog eating contest. Top, the Drury High marching band at the Fall Foliage Parade. Left, visitors begin arriving at the craft fair early Saturday.
It was a 100 percent a success ... the vendors were thrilled," said Barbeau late Saturday afternoon as fair disbanded. "We're already looking for ways to improve this for next year."
With the exception of a handful, the participating merchants were happy with both the crowd that was attracted and the amoung of sales, the bulk of which came between 10 and 2. A lof those who attended were tourists, a good sign, said Barbeau, who noted that the fair was up against the well-established harvest and craft fairs at Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge and Hildene in Manchester, Vt.
"There were visitors from everywhere," said Helene Armet of Babycakes. "I'd do it again."
In fact, more than a few vendors stopped on their way out to compliment Barbeau, who operates two businesses out of her home when she isn't organizing craft fairs. With no budget, Barbeau got out the word with social media, signs everywhere and appearances on local radio. A stint on the "Opinion Show" on WNAW prompted a rash of calls from interested vendors. The fair will return next year and a survey will be sent to vendors to find out what worked and what could be improved.
Batman and Superman wave from a parade float.
The afternoon was supplemented by ROPES Family Fun Day, a fundraiser for the North Adams Police-sponsored summer camp (Respecting Other People Encouraging Self-Esteem) that puts kids through a ropes course to building team spirit and self-esteem. The day began with a pancake breakfast at the VFW and a 60-mile motorcycle run.
"It was a good pace and everyone had a good time," said Officer Erik Thomas, an organizer of the event with Lt. David Sacco, who added, "There was great participation all around."
Both said they hoped to grow the car and motorcycle show, which still had a better turnout than last year's wet day. The doughnut eating contest was cancelled this year for lack of participants but they hope to revive it next year.
The dog eating contest went on — but without the Ephs, who got spanked by MCLA 88-62 last year. Williams cancelled Friday night but the townies stepped up to defeat champs MCLA by 70-54. The dogs were donated by Jack's Hot Dogs owner Jeff Levanos again and, this year, everything stayed down, said Sacco.
The ROPES organizers and Barbeau worked closely the last few weeks but Barbeau is hoping to integrate both events better for next year.
Also on Saturday was the first Dog Day of Fall Parade. Sunday, of course, was parade day with thousands lining Curran Highway, State Street and Main Street to watch the bands, floats, politicians and Shriners go by.
Look for photos Monday from the Friday's Children's Parade, the Fall Foliage Parade and the Dog Day of Fall Parade.
|Tags: Fall Foliage|
Desperado's Returning to City
David Atwell, second from right, is getting some help from current and former employees to get 23 Eagle St. ready for the new Desperado's restaurant.
David Atwell vowed to return to North Adams when his restaurant Desperado's closed on Ashland Street. He'd hoped to do it within the year but it ended up taking five.
The Mexican restaurant will reopen in the city this fall in the former The Alley location at 23 Eagle St. It's a spot Atwell's been eyeing for the past five years; he finally got it on Wednesday, when he closed with Legacy Bank to purchase the 4,200-square-foot property and its contents for $156,000.
"We wanted this building for five years," he said on Thursday, standing in the minor chaos of a restaurant in transformation. "It's small, easy to maintain and homey."
Atwell's Desperado's Fresh Mexican Grille in the Colonial Shopping Center in Williamstown has been operating for about 17 years. A big chunk of its clientele is from North Adams, which made him eager to return — but not unless he could own his location. His first venture here closed largely because of rental costs. "I wanted to be in control of my own building, my own costs," he said.
The Alley, which replaced a string of cafes before it, closed abruptly in January after father and son owners Jack and Keith Nogueira couldn't keep the bistro going. The building and its contents were to be sold off at auction in late June but Legacy Banks put in the only bid at $155,000 and the contents, which were to be auctioned seperately, were not offered.
Atwell, one of those attending the auction, said Legacy was aware he was interested in the property. He worked with the bank, which holds the mortgage, and particularly noted commercial relationship officer John Masten for making the process easy.
The dark colors and nightclub atmosphere will be completely erased. "We're going to paint the walls with warm Southwestern colors my wife [Deanna] and her sister picked out," said Atwell. The tables will be replaced with upholstered booths and some work will be done in the kitchen and second floor, where The Alley hosted musical acts.
Cleaning, patching under way.
Atwell is looking into an entertainment license but sees the second floor being used for private parties, benefits and teen dances. The long-term plan is to turn it into living loft space.
Employees from the Williamstown restaurant will work at both locations as necessary and former employees are expected to fill out his team.
The menu will be the same at both locations but the North Adams eatery will be open for lunch six days a week (the Williamstown eatery opens for lunch Thursday to Saturday.) Hours will be 11 to 10 Monday through Thursday and 11 to 11 Friday and Saturday. Atwell was approved by the Planning Board and received an all-alcoholic license to midnight from the Licensing Commission.
"We've set a goal of Nov. 1 to open," he said. "That will keep us working."
|Tags: restaurants, business|