10 Quick Ideas for North Adams
Random ideas for the Nabobs to whinny about:
1) When Carbone Ford abandons the dealership on Rte 2 to move to Bennington, move the remains of Fort Massachusetts (a.k.a. Fort Price Chopper) from the rear of the grocery store parking lot and build it into a joint attraction combining the fort with a northern Welcome Center for the Mt. Greylock Reservation. By piggy-backing both of these projects, we would get more bang for our buck as well as revive a sadly neglected part of our history.
2) Push for the adoption of Governor Patrick's Education Readiness program. North Adams would benefit greatly by creating a statewide master contract for teachers. Currently our teachers are among the lowest paid in the county and state. Promising teachers are often poached away by neighboring districts during tight budget times. Equalizing pay (adjust by regional cost of living) alleviate this as well as take the nasty local politics that have poisoned the relations between city hall and the North Adams Teachers Association.
3) Also in the Readiness Project is huge emphasis on science and technology. Finding ways for our local schools to collaborate with MCLA as it opens and staffs its new science building will be a huge boost to students and the image of the schools. Also, there is talk of trying to leverage MCLA's new programs and turn the area into a sci-tech business mini-hub. Nothing would be better.
4) Speaking of MCLA, create some sort of enterprise zone on Ashland St. to try and attract more student oriented businesses. I've never seen a campus with as little commerce nearby. There has to be a way to facilitate the parting of students from their parent's money more effectively.
5) My favorite idea is a revision of the one I proposed in the Transcript four years back - Take a 100 foot wide strip of land crossing the Steeples Plaza parking lot, stretching between St. Johns and the Police Station. (That lot is never near full anyways. The landlord will love to sell it or have it taken) Tear up the asphalt and create a City Green, with a large gazebo style stage for concerts or rallies, an area where artists and farmers can peddle their wares, where someone can take a cup of coffee and a newspaper and sit (yes, that mean benches
. Oooh scary!), etc.... Downtown needs someplace for events that doesn't require closing off the street for a festival.
6) Create local tax incentives to fix up dilapidated properties and return homes that have been split into multiple apartments back into owner occupied homes.
7) Reevaluate just how much public housing a city the size of North Adams should have.
8) Enact Eric Buddington's proposal to put all city ordinances and zoning info online. It's almost 2009, dontcha' know.
9) Use the mercury spill at Conte as the final straw to enact John Hockridge's proposal to go to the K-8 model. While its facade is stunning, the building itself is awful. It would be "a terrible shame" if that mercury spill made the building unfit for occupancy. (snarkiness aside, Hockridge's plan is a good first step towards the major overhaul that our schools need)
10) Go to the Improv Open Mike Comedy Show at The Alley tomorrow night. It really is very funny. The city needs more laughs dammit!