Letter To The EditoriBerkshires.com "Letters to the Editor" page is currently under construction. The following is a letter from North Adams City Councilor Christopher Tremblay.
The decision by the City of North Adams to purchase the Notre Dame property is not a good decision. In stating the reasoning for wanting to purchase the property, the Mayor states that the city will hold a perpetual easement on the facade of the buildings. When a church is sold, that easement is written into the deed by the church as are many other restrictions. The city will not be gaining anything by purchasing this property, in fact, it stands to lose.
The Mayor stated when discussions were underway in regard to this purchase that the city may be on the hook for some $200,000.00. The Mayor also stated that by purchasing this property, the city can control what goes into the property. The city already has a mechanism to control what goes into that property sd well as any other property in the city, it's called the Planning Board.
If, as the Mayor has stated, there are private developers who are interested in purchasing the property then why not let the private developers purchase this property directly from the church? The City of North Adams should not be engaging in the risky field of real estate speculation.
For many years, the Catholic Diocese of Springfield used North Adams as a dumping ground for pedophile priests. During that time, the Diocese knew these priests had been accused of molesting children in more affluent communities and chose to locate those priests to this community knowing our demographics as a mill town and lower income area would enable the pedophiles to go undetected. Now the Catholic Diocese is facing a financial crunch and as stated in your article the city is bailing them out.
Did the city bail out the scores of victims of Clergy abuse?
I do not believe it is the responsibility of the City of North Adams to bail out the Diocese by purchasing this property at a cost that is greater than the monetary figure they will pay.
The City doesn't have money to provide backstops, dugouts,lighting, and maintenance equipment for the new athletic complex. We don't have the money to provide municipal trash removal or money to allow residents to recycle at no cost yet we have $510,000.00 to purchase a piece of decaying property on speculation that we may sell it?
In my opinion this is not a good use of public funds and I would urge anyone who agrees to contact the Mayor's office and express your feelings.
Christopher J. Tremblay
North Adams City Councilor