NORTH ADAMS -- City officials are looking to the future -- and they're asking for a little help from the public.

In what is known as the North Adams Vision 2030 project, officials are aiming to draft a comprehensive master plan to help steer the city through the next two decades.

The last long-range plan done by the city was in 1972, when Sprague Electric Co. was still operating, said North Adams City Planner Mackenzie Greer.

Much of the city's zoning is obsolete, Greer said, and needs updating in a way that makes sense for today's development standards and economic needs.

"A vision for the future helps set parameters for the zoning map going forward," she said.

The process, which has been ongoing, will continue with a public hearing from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the North Adams Public Library. Residents will be asked to weigh in on issues including land and transportation usage, open space needs and economic development. A final workshop/public hearing will be Tuesday, April 29, at City Hall.

Community members al-
ready have expressed a desire for more green space downtown, better connections between major assets, such as the Heritage State Park and MASS MoCA, and branding and marketing the city, Greer said. She said there was also a great deal of interest in extending the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail through Adams and into North Adams.


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Some of the questions for which city officials seek ans-
wers, Greer said, include "How do you better utilize the gems, and how do you envision a future where urban renewal left scars? Have we captured the big ideas we should capture? Can we make it easier to help with adaptive reuse of old mills and vacant churches? And what are the priorities?"

The resulting plan, Greer said, should provide a path to improve the urban mix of uses in the downtown area, provide safe and interesting access to the commercial districts, and take advantage of what the city already has to offer in developing further economic growth.

Mayor Richard Alcombright said he is interested to hear what sorts of comments and opinions will be aired on Thursday.

"Planning for the future of a city, you really have to put a collection of heads together to figure out what the needs are," he said. "With this plan, I really hope we will be able to continue to move the city forward on many of the points that have come out during this discussion."

For info or to leave input, visit vision2030.wp.northadams-ma.gov.

To reach Scott Stafford:
sstafford@berkshireeagle.com
On Twitter: @BE_SStafford If you go ...

What: Public hearing on Vision 2030 project

When: 5 to 7 tonight

Where: North Adams Public Library

Information: vision2030.wp.northadams-ma.gov.