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HOI Transfers Sun Cleaners to North Adams

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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The Housing Authority hopes to dissolve the HOI finally.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Housing Opportunities Inc. voted last week to transfer the deed of Sun Cleaners to the city and is in the final process of officially dissolving.  
The Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, which also serves as the HOI board, met with attorney Elisabeth Goodman a week ago to go over some of the final steps the board must take to disband.
"It has been 10 years of hard work and struggle and it comes down to these papers," Housing Authority Executive Director Jennifer Hohn said.
Housing Opportunities, a 30-year-old program created to help first-time homeowners, has been trying to dissolve for almost 10 years.
Almost two years ago, the Housing Authority Board transferred all assets to the city accept two: a house on Bracewell Avenue used as permanent supportive housing was given to Louison House, and Sun Cleaners, which the city was hesitant to take without environmental testing.
With 111 River St. still in limbo, HOI held on to its $271,363.93 check while environmental testing was conducted.
This testing was completed this year and a report this summer that stated some clean up was needed. The funds left from HOI's closed-out account will be able to cover the cleanup.
"We have worked many years on dissolving Housing Opportunities Inc," Hohn said in an email exchange after the meeting. "I am extremely pleased to relinquish the funds to the City to be used for the mitigation of Sun Cleaners in addition to other priorities in the City of North Adams which are deemed eligible under block grant funds use. "
The board voted to authorize Hohn to transfer the property to the city.
"We are finally getting rid of this," board member Richard Lavigne said.
Goodman said the mayor has reviewed the report and indicated that the city was ready to accept the property.
"The city did not give any comments on it so I assume they are ready to accept it," she said. "They verbally said it is fine so I think they are fine."
Hohn did invite a representative from the city to attend the meeting to officially hand over the check but no one attended the meeting. She said she would hand-deliver the check later in the week. 
Goodman said there is still some work to do and the Housing authority must still close out some accounting paperwork and file a petition to dissolve with the Attorney General.
"That will be the end of it," she said. "I can see the end in sight."
Correction: this article incorrectly listed the Flood House as an asset of HOI. It was owned by the Housing Authority and gifted to Louison House the same year as the Bracewell property.

Tags: Housing Authority,   Housing program,   

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North Adams Eyeing Street Closures to Aid Local Businesses

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

One possible option for Eagle Street would close it to motor vehicle traffic.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city is looking for ways to expand opportunities for outdoor dining, starting on Monday with Center Street. 
A section of Center Street near Marshall Street will be shut down on Monday along with part of a private parking lot between the Mulcare Building and Juvenile Court. Traffic will be able to enter the St. Anthony Municipal Parking Lot from Center and exit the parking lot off Holden.
Officials are also working the North Adams Chamber of Commerce and downtown businesses in submitting a grant application to the state Department of Transportation's Shared Streets and Spaces. MassDOT has set aside some $5 million in grant funding designed to aid communities in supporting outdoor and pedestrian activities during the pandemic. There are also MassWorks grants available, according to Stantec's Liza Cohen.
The grant application was the subject of a meeting on Thursday seeking input from downtown restaurateurs on several possible dining areas on Eagle, Holden and Center streets. 
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