Historical Commission OKs Lighting For Heritage Park

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Designers for the Heritage Park renovation offered several styles of lighting for the commission's review; the verdict was the bell-shaped fixture with the S-curve on the arm — as long as it's black.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The lighting fixtures are high-tech LED but the option offered by Greylock Market has enough of a vintage swirl to pass the muster of the Historical Commission.

The commission on Wednesday afternoon voted to approve the bell-style light poles by Kim Lighting.

"Personally, that looked like the best combination of old and new," Chairwoman Justyna Carlson said.

Commissioners agreed, dismissing several other options as not up to snuff.

The panel had rejected a proposal for what members deemed "Jetsons" lights earlier this month. The very contemporary poles had been selected to blend in with the renovation of Western Gateway Heritage State Park into the mixed-use Greylock Market.

The pole lighting is an important aspect in not only looks but safety since the park will now have a residential function as well as commercial space. The designers were also taking into account the modern interactive installation by Daniel Buren that would be located in the park and described by members as an "exploding cube."

Carlson noted that designers for the park's founding had "stood on their heads" to get the lights to match the historic venue 30 years ago. A postcard of the long-gone train station that Carlson passed around shows lighting fixtures very much in line with those in the park today.

Community Development Director Michael Nuvallie contacted the Berkshire Design Group during the meeting to ensure the lights would be black and have the distinctive S-curve flourish the panel wanted. Yes, they could and, yes, the panel approved.

Nuvallie said Greylock Market LLC, which is nearing an agreement to lease the park for 40 years from the city, will begin test borings to see how deep the frost is. The group had planned on beginning landscape renovations this month but the extreme cold and a penetrating frost line that wreaked havoc on the city's water lines has held up work. The group is investing about $6 million in the park.

"They are supposed to be done by June but had to put off some stuff," he said. "They will keep us posted as far as the progress."

Several trees will be removed to allow a wider driveway for delivery trucks and cobblestones will be set down in the old playground area. The second floors of several buildings will have to be modified for windows for residential units.

The market envisions a microbrewery, attached to the existing Freight Yard Pub, studio work shops and a large retail area for craftsmen and artists to sell their wares. Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art will open a gift shop. The goal is to move visitors between the museum, the market and the downtown. The city and state museum in the park will have to relocate, as will Northern Berkshire Community Television.

The commission has been frustrated by a lack of notification in decision-making around historical projects in the past, particularly in regard to properties on the State Register of Historic Places such as Heritage Park. A blowup over the planned demolition of the old Drury High School stairs at Colegrove Park took several meetings to smooth over; Carlson has made it a point since then to attend School Building Committee meetings.

She told commissioners and Nuvallie that she would check with Brona Simon of the Massachusetts Historical Commission on "whether we are supposed to be counseled or not."

In other business:

Commissioner Alan Horbal said the Hodge Mill Museum had applied for a Massachusetts Humanities Grant. The proposed museum would consist of three or four 1860s-era residences on Houghton Street. He expected to hear back in two weeks about any modifications for the grant.

The museum also needs to have a "resident expert" who can verify the construction dates on the building, he told the commissioners. It was suggested Joe Manning, who has spent a great deal of time doing research on the city's milltown heyday, or former member Daniel Connerton, a retired Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts professor, may be acceptable.

"We've got a plan that's pretty decent and the mayor has gone along with what we've done, but we've got have funding," Horbal said. "If we have a project with some pledges of money he'll go along with us but if not, it's coming down."

The museum idea sparked some anger in the Houghton area because neighbors had been told the buildings would be demolished, something they had been pushing for years.

Carlson said the commission had also received a $10,000 grant from Massachusetts Historical Commission to continue its survey of buildings. The grant is being matched with $10,000 in community development funds.

The Local Historic District Committee is still missing one member before it can finally meet. In February, Josh Colon, Paul Marino, Frances Buckley and Emily Schiavoni were appointed to the committee. However, an architect or similarly experienced person has not yet been named. Nominations are first requested through the American Institute of Architects; if it fails to provide a name, the mayor can name someone.

Carlson said Mayor Richard Alcombright had someone in mind and had hoped to see an appointment at Tuesday's City Council meeting.

The commissioners had been considering pursuing a plaque at Heritage State Park noting some of the city's more distinguished residents but with the renovations, they are considering the rebuilt wall at Colegrove Park might prove more suitable.

Tags: Heritage State Park,   historical commission,   

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North Adams Women's History Hall of Fame Inducts New Members

Heather Boulger, left, Constance Tatro and Morgan Goodell at Tuesday's night ceremony at City Council. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Five more names have been added to the Women's History Hall of Fame established by Mayor Jennifer Macksey last year. 
Tuesday night saw the recognition of longtime School Committee member Heather Putnam Boulger, well-known child-care provider Constance Tatro and the city's first woman firefighter Morgan Goodell, as well as two historic figures — City Councilor Lottie Harriman, who helped establish the city airport, and Probation Officer Lois Quinn. 
"This was created to honor women who contributed to laying the groundwork for women leaders in our community and to reinforce that all of us are valued community members," said Macksey at Tuesday's City Council meeting. "While we honor these fine women, we must also honor all women who make a difference each day. No matter what role you play your positive impact on the community is much need and appreciated."
Boulger, Tatro and Goodell attended the event and two of Quinn's relatives accepted the plaque in her honor and Keith Bona was asked to step in to accept Harriman's award as he had nominated her. He asked that the plaque be placed at the new building at Harriman & West Airport.
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