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The new funding makes room for a possible avigation easement next fiscal year.

MassDOT Funds Additional Projects at North Adams Airport

Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — MassDOT agreed to fund a few additional Airport Safety and Maintenance Projects (ASMP) at the North Adams Airport within the current fiscal year.
 
Stantec Engineer Peter Enzien told the airport commission Tuesday, Feb 20 that the city will profit from some large MassDOT projects that have been delayed until fiscal year 2025.
 
"I thought this was all good news," said Commissioner Marc Morandi. "...If they are jingling around money why not make some recommendations."
 
With this extra cash, Enzien said MassDOT called airports throughout the state asking if they had any eligible projects that could be completed before the end of the fiscal year this summer.
 
"It can be used for a project or to purchase equipment, but it has to be done by June 30," he said. "So it is not a whole lot of time." 
 
Enzien circulated a project priority list among commissioners and city administration, and they all agreed to ask ASMP funds to upgrade the aging fuel tank, purchase a snow plow for the airport tractor, and purchase a dozer blade.
 
Also on the list was the replacement of the city-owned Shamrock Hangar's roof, but it was agreed that the fuel tank was a priority.
 
"It makes sense to keep the fuel farm safe," Morandi said. "We will worry about the roof later."
 
The roof will remain on the Fiscal Year 2026 Capitol Improvement Project List.
 
Enzien didn't have any hard numbers Tuesday but noted the ASMP grants are an 80/20 split between the state and city.
 
Some commissioners inquired about the installation of security cameras at the airport. This project is fully designed but has not been implemented. 
 
Enzien said he would mention it to MassDOT.
 
Moving these projects up in the timeline did free up some cash to possibly see out an avigation easement on 672 Barbour St. 
 
Enzien said there are many tall pine trees on the residential property that borders the airport. He said they are possible obstructions. Past homeowners have shown little interest in granting the easement, but the current owner is open to the idea, he said.
 
The avigation easement would allow the city to cut down troublesome trees as well as access the property
 
"It is a high-priority project if we want to be able to maintain trees in the future," Enzien said. "Anytime you can have control of your approach it is a good thing."
 
He estimated the initiative would cost around $6,000 and with future funds freed up from the extra ASMP funds this fiscal year, the commission agreed to table the project until next fiscal year.
 
Enzien said the airport will undergo statewide pavement and maintenance this year. He suspects there will be some crack sealing and surface treatment on the runways. 
 
He said this is completely state-funded and hasn't been conducted at the airport since 2020. He said it should be done every 2 to 3 years.
 
In other business, Airport Manager Bruce Goff gave his report and noted a few electrical concerns he hoped could be addressed. He said 8-9 runway and taxiway lights do not light. Also the wind T and wind sock do not light. He also mentioned a green light on the beacon that does not always light.
 
Most concerning was the emergency fuel shut off does not work.
 
"That is a big problem," he said. 
 
Goff also reported that glass on the runway earlier this month had casued a temporary shutdown.
 
He said while the runway was being plowed, wind blew open the driver side door of the snow removal vehicle smashing the tempered glass.
 
Goff said he helped the plow driver pick up what they could see. He said they picked up more glass after the snow and ice had melted.
 
Without a sweeper available, Goff said he spent 11 hours in total sweeping the runway with 12 inspection passes.
 
"I am confident the runway is in great shape," he said.
 

Tags: airport,   airport commission,   MassDOT,   

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North Adams to Begin Study of Veterans Memorial Bridge Alternatives

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Mayor Jennifer Macksey says the requests for qualifications for the planning grant should be available this month. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Connecting the city's massive museum and its struggling downtown has been a challenge for 25 years. 
 
A major impediment, all agree, is the decades old Central Artery project that sent a four-lane highway through the heart of the city. 
 
Backed by a $750,000 federal grant for a planning study, North Adams and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art are looking to undo some of that damage.
 
"As you know, the overpass was built in 1959 during a time when highways were being built, and it was expanded to accommodate more cars, which had little regard to the impacts of the people and the neighborhoods that it surrounded," said Mayor Jennifer Macksey on Friday. "It was named again and again over the last 30 years by Mass MoCA in their master plan and in the city in their vision 2030 plan ... as a barrier to connectivity."
 
The Reconnecting Communities grant was awarded a year ago and Macksey said a request for qualifications for will be available April 24.
 
She was joined in celebrating the grant at the Berkshire Innovation Center's office at Mass MoCA by museum Director Kristy Edmunds, state Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver, District 1 Director Francesca Hemming and Joi Singh, Massachusetts administrator for the Federal Highway Administration.
 
The speakers also thanked the efforts of the state's U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, U.S. Rep. Richie Neal, Gov. Maura Healey and state Sen Paul Mark and state Rep. John Barrett III, both of whom were in attendance. 
 
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