NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The federal government has committed to funding half the $3 million needed for a feasibility study of the city's 70-year-old flood control chutes.
The city of North Adams and the Hoosac River Revival, which has been working to transform parts of the deteriorating concrete chutes, made the announcement in a press release on Thursday. The study would be undertaken by the Army Corps of Engineers, which constructed the flood control system to contain the Hoosic River.
"I look forward to working with the Corps and community stakeholders to plan for a modern flood control system that will protect the community from floods and enhance the economic and environmental value of our river," said Mayor Jennifer Macksey. "It is long overdue."
The concrete panels that line the chutes have been decaying for years and several have already fallen into the river. While the system saved the city from periodic catastrophic floods, the chutes are now seen as unsightly, ecologically destitute, and in dire need repair or restoration.
Estimated cost for the three-year study is $3 million, of which the state has committed $1 million and the city, $500,000. U.S. Rep. Richie Neal was also able to secure $200,000 toward the project. The federal funding will match the $1.5 milion in annual installments.
"The Hoosic River is a true community treasure in North Adams," said Neal. "The feasibility study is a major first step in reinventing the river and the viable recreational activities within and around it. I look forward to the completion of this project and the endless possibilities it will bring to the region."
Both U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey have endorsed the project and worked with Neal to get funding. Warren visited the city in August, describing a revamp of the flood control system as a "great infrastructure project" that was urgently needed.
The study will be a collaborative effort led by the Corps to identify, evaluate and recommend a workable solution that will ensure flood protection for the city. Rough estimates for restoration have been projected between $150 million and $200 million.
State funding was secured through the efforts of state Rep. John R. Barrett III and former Gov. Charlie Baker.
"Both the former governor and I recognized that the flood control system in North Adams is in desperate need of repair," said Barrett. "It is an environmental issue, a make or break project not just for North Adams but for Adams and
Williamstown as well. I'm grateful that the former governor agreed and released $1 million in the Environmental Bond Bill to support this study."
Judy Grinnell, president of the Hoosic River Revival, an all-volunteer, non-profit organization that helped facilitate the funding commitments, said, "We are so pleased the city and the Corps of Engineers will begin that necessary, comprehensive analysis this year."
She also highlighted that, at the same time, the city and HRR will be engaging directly with residents to ensure that the study reflects community needs and aspirations. Grinnell asked that community members who would like more information or question-and-answer meeting about the study for their neighborhood or organization, to contact the Hoosic River Revival at firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-398-5288.
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North Adams Commission Passes on River Street Parking Ban
By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Traffic Commission is holding off on any changes to parking along River Street near the Corner Store.
The commission had received a letter from resident Nancy Bullett and several phone calls from residents about congestion specifically between Holden and North Holden streets caused by cars parked along River Street.
"The way the cars were parked right up to the corner and with the high, like the SUVs, and that [drivers turning out of North Holden] really couldn't see oncoming traffic," Chair MaryAnn King told the commission on March 8. "You had to like almost pull out halfway in the road to turn before you can see oncoming traffic."
She said she didn't want to hurt any businesses by prohibiting parking along the north side and so had spoken with the police. The result was the Highway Department installed new signs for "no parking here to corner" on both sides of the street to remind motorists that parking within 20 feet of an intersection is prohibited.