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Hoosic River Revival's Judith Grinnell points to problems areas in the chutes in Willow Dell last summer.

Neal Secures $700,000 for North Adams Flood Chutes Project

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Mayor Jennifer Macksey at last August's signing of an agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — U.S. Rep. Richard Neal has secured $700,000 in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' budget to complete a feasibility study of the Hoosic River flood chutes.  
The Corps of Engineers is in the midst of a three-year, $3 million study of the aging concrete flood chutes that control the passage of the river through the city. 
North Adams has ponied up $500,000 as part of its share of the study and another $1.5 million is expected to come from state and federal coffers. Neal previously secured $200,000 in the fiscal 2023 omnibus spending package to begin the feasibility study. 
The additional funding secured by Neal will allow for the completion of the study, required before the project can move on to the next phase.
Neal celebrated it as a significant step in bringing the flood chutes project to fruition, which he said came after several months of communication with the Corps.
"The residents of North Adams have long advocated for much needed improvements to the city's decades-old flood chutes. This announcement is a substantial victory for the city, one that reaffirms the federal government's commitment to making this project a reality," said the congressman. "As a former mayor, I know firsthand the importance of these issues, especially when it comes to the safety and well-being of residents. 
"That is why I have prioritized funding for this project, one that will not only enhance protections along the Hoosic River Basin and reduce flood risk, but also make much critical improvements to the city's infrastructure and create jobs."
The nonprofit Hoosic River Revival has been working for years to restore as much of the river as possible into a more natural attraction along the lines of similar works in San Antonio, Texas, and Colorado. The possibilities include walking and biking paths, fishing areas and stepped or walled structures that will continue to contain and channel the river. 
Built by the Corps in 1961 after several devastating floods, the flood chutes have played a vital role in providing flood protection to about 85 percent of the city's industrial and commercial firms and about 25 percent of residential property. After nearly 60 years of use, the flood chutes are in severe disrepair and in need of significant structural improvement.
The River Revival has estimated more there is more than $600 million in real and property assets endangered by the river, and that's not including some $240 million in art inside the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. The river cuts through and around the massive museum in the former Spraque Electric and Arnold Printworks mills
"We are pleased to be able to continue the work on the Hoosic River flood control project," said Mayor Jennifer Macksey in a statement. "We are delighted with the continued support of the federal delegation including Congressman Neal, Senator Markey, and Senator Warren. This project is ever so important to the city, not only from a safety perspective, but also for the overall well-being of the river and the community at large."
Neal said he would continue working with the mayor and Corps to ensure future funding. 

Tags: flood control,   Hoosic River,   

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North Adams Council OKs $49M Budget for Fiscal 2025

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The City Council on Tuesday approved a $48,891,455 fiscal 2025 budget, up $1,481,385 or 3.12 percent over this year. 
The budget includes a school budget of $20,357,096, up $302,744 or 1.51 percent over this year. 
The major drivers are the general increases in the cost of supplies, utilities and insurance; a 2 percent cost of living raise for nonunion employees; upgrades in software and equipment; reclassifications of several positions and additional clerical staff. 
Mayor Jennifer Macksey provided the city budget, school budget, compensation and classification plan and capital improvement plan in a bound document with summaries and graphs explaining expenditures. 
Finance Committee members recommended the total to the full City Council, calling it "fiscally responsible."
Councilor Keith Bona, Finance chair, said committee members did raise objections or concerns during deliberations, particularly Councilor Andrew Fitch over the lack of a city planner and Councilor Ashley Shade over the need for more building maintenance. Shade voted against the public safety budget Tuesday over that issue.
"The majority did support each department recommending it to the council and again, there were some some minor changes between the draft budget and what's in front of us," he said. 
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