Photo Gallery | Installation of North Adams City Government
NORTH ADAMS — Before a small but enthusiastic crowd at City Hall on Friday that included his mother and son, Richard J. Alcombright was officially sworn in for his fourth two-year term as North Adams' mayor.
The City Council and new members of the North Adams School Committee and Northern Berkshire Vocational School Committee also received the oath of office from City Clerk Marilyn Gomeau at the city's traditional New Year's Day ceremony.
Councilors Benjamin R. Lamb and Nancy P. Bullitt were both unanimously nominated and elected to one year terms as president and vice president of the City Council respectively by their peers. Eight of the council's nine members were in attendance. Eric R. Buddington was absent.
Alcombright, who ended former Mayor John Barrett III's comeback bid by 376 votes in the general election in November, thanked the people who voted for him, and provided a quick rundown of projects and issues that his administration hopes to tackle during the next two years.
"I am confident that we are on the right path and that we have and will continue to see great things happen," Alcombright said. "If we look at time as measured in government years we are just minutes away, I think, from turning the corner on our road to becoming the place to be in this region."
Noting that only he and Barrett have served as mayor of North Adams since the mid-1980s, Alcombright also called on the city's young people to become involved in the city's affairs
"During the last election someone mentioned to me that the city of North Adams, after this term, will have been led by only two people for the last 34 years," Alcombright said. "While that is not necessarily a bad thing, after taking some time to think it through, it screamed that we may have skipped a generation of leaders here in the city of North Adams.
"We have to resurrect that," Alcombright said. "The only way to do that is for the young people to come forward.
"I both invite and challenge our younger folks to get involved in leadership roles, elected and appointed," he added. "Bottom line, this is your city."
Alcombright listed the expansion at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA), the Greylock Mill, the Redwood Motel, Blackinton Mill, and the proposed museums at both Harriman-West Airport and Heritage State Park, among others, as projects that are currently underway.
"We continue to see significant public and private sector investment in the city," Alcombright said. "Over the next six months we will continue to work with private investors and government partners to finalize and put into play much of what is happening."
The mayor also said that he had not "lost sight" of the Mohawk Theater project, adding that it "will once again" be brought to "the front burner" with "renewed interest" from the private sector.
"Now that MCLA has named a new president, I will re-engage with him regarding this project over the next six months," he said.
Referring to public safety. Alcombright said the city's crime numbers have dropped because there have been "significant" drug arrests. "We need to keep up the pressure to assure that the city is as safe as possible," he added.
He also said North Adams needs to "identify and prioritize" its infrastructure needs in a way that is both "manageable and affordable," and that the city needs to "keep the budget balanced."
"We cannot fall behind again," he said.