Election 2009: Bond Wants to Connect City to World

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — North Adams needs a creative strategy to tackle the important issues of economic development and job creation. In order for North Adams to properly capitalize on the national and global exposure the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art has provided, a cutting-edge Web presence needs to be created.

The articles in Time Magazine, The New York Times and The Washington Post are read by tens of thousands of people whose access to the city is through the Internet. The new Web site should be interactive with video clips from Mary Grant the president of MCLA, Joe Thompson, director of Mass MoCA, elected officials, business owners and residents. The site should also include the ability to view all the requirements necessary to start a business whether it be retail or industrial. This Web site needs to bring North Adams out of the screen and right into the homes and offices of people around the world.

This new Web site will cost money and everyone knows that money is very hard to find. So, how does this project move forward? The computer science classes at MCLA, Drury High School and McCann Tech could be used to build the site. Local artists could be used to shoot the video clips and photograph all the scenic beauty throughout North Adams. By including our students and art community a sense of ownership is created among these groups of people. The city would monitor content and manage the Web site with the help of the students and artists.

In order to attract businesses in a very competitive market North Adams needs to think nationally as well as globally. The city cannot expect an employer to just waltz into town we need to go get them and the internet is the first step. 

Let's show the world what we have to offer and let's do it together by combining our students, artists and residents. This is just the first step as a more in depth marketing plan would have to created to further put North Adams in front of as many businesses as possible. This first step is an important one and it can be done with everyone working towards the common goal of job creation.

Submitted by David Bond; Dbond48@hotmail.com
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Adams COA, Town Seek Funds for Memorial Building Bathrooms

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff

ADAMS, Mass. — The Council on Aging is still waiting to transition its programming from the Visitor Center to the Memorial Building and is looking to the Community Development Department for help. 

The COA has been waiting for additional bathroom facilities to be completed for the facility, but the council and the town have so far been unable to obtain grant or other funding for the work.

 

COA Director Sarah Fontaine said they are working with Community Development to find funds for the bathrooms and other small improvements, including increased entrance accessibility, renovations to the former music room and fixed windows. 

 

"I had voiced my concern. It's a very extensive list, I don't expect that it will all be done before we transition over. The only need is the bathrooms," Fontaine said. 

 

At last week's Board of Selectmen meeting, Community Development Director Eammon Coughlin said he looked into using Community Development Block Grant funds for the project. He said, however, that the Memorial Building is ineligible.

 

"The guidance we received from [the state Department of Housing and Community Development] has basically told us that the building is ineligible for funding because we already received funding in 2018," he said. "There has to be five years between the application for senior-center type projects. So based on that guidance, I don't believe Memorial School is eligible for funding."  

 

Fontaine also mentioned the auditorium in the building, which the town plans to renovate separately as a future capital project. 

 

"It would be nice as a senior center to have the auditorium available for guest lectures and other things like that," she said. 

 

Moving staff to the Memorial Building now while keeping programming at the Visitor Center, Fontaine said, is not an option. She noted that the Hoosac Valley Regional School District had previously expressed interest in using the second floor of the Visitor Center for its office space. 

 

"I was very firm in saying, logistically, it's hard for us to manage things just being upstairs. It's going to be very difficult if we're off site to try and manage programs downstairs," she said. 

 

In other business: 

 

  • The Council on Aging is looking for volunteers to fill vacancies on its advisory board. It filled one of the vacancies on Wednesday, appointing Barbara Ziemba. Ziemba, an active participant in the COA, had already filled out the paperwork needed for her appointment. 

 

"I have attended many COA activities, volunteer, and am a member of the Friends of the Council on Aging and attend meetings. I have been interested in being a member of the Board of Directors for some time. Please consider my appointment to the board," Ziemba wrote, explaining in her paperwork why she was interested in the position.           

 

The group also discussed two other vacancies on the board and potential candidates to fill them. Two members have been unable to attend recent meetings for health reasons. 

 

  • The board voted to approve updated bylaws. The bylaws were revised and written primarily by Board Member Elizabeth Mach. 

 

"I just wanted to make a comment, or rather an appreciation, for Liz for taking this project on," Fontaine said. 

 

The new bylaws have a provision to allow honorary members. Fontaine said there are currently no honorary members. 

 

The board appointed Bruce Shepley as the board's chair to replace Barbara Lagowski, who filled one of the now vacant member seats. 

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