North Adams looks ahead to implementing new master plan


NORTH ADAMS -- With its "Vision 2030" master plan formally adopted by the planning board, the city is now looking forward to the implementation process.

The plan -- which attempts to set forth a vision of a North Adams of the future and the path to achieve it -- was recently approved by the city's Planning Board. Many of the plan's initiatives are already underway, while other may take time to progress, according to city officials.

But for the implementation of the plan -- which addresses transportation, land use, and a plethora of other community issues -- to be successful, it will require community involvement and private investment, according to North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright.

"Now comes the heavy lifting," Alcombright said. "If you see something in this community that you're interested in ... cleaning parks, economic development, a different dynamic of business in our downtown, wellness ... there's some place in the plan for you."

Alcombright said anyone curious about getting involved should get in touch with Mackenzie Greer, the city's planner and one of the architects of the Vision 2030 plan.

"If you have a particular expertise, there may be a committee [for you]," Greer said. "We have lots of folks come with really awesome ideas. ... That said, we need people willing to help implement these ideas."

Greer and the community development office already have begun to work on "low-hanging fruit," such as low-cost or grant-eligible programs.

One example of work that's already underway, she said, it the formation of a cultural district in North Adams under the Mass Cultural Council -- which would allow the city to think of its cultural assets as a whole and market them. The city has partnered with students at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts to develop an application to the Mass Cultural Council, which is already about 75 percent done, Greer said.

A second component of the plan, Greer said, will be to update the city's zoning laws to fit the Vision 2030 plan.

The city will form a committee consisting of planning board, zoning board of appeals, and other community members to take up the task.

But even with the momentum gained by the plan's formal adoption, Alcombright warned that, from an administrative perspective, resources are limited. Alcombright added that he doesn't want residents to get discouraged if those resources have to be prioritized.

The mayor also stressed that the weight of implementing the plan can't rest solely on the shoulders of government.

"People can not look at this as strictly a document that government has to fulfill. ... There's also a large component in the master plan that really speaks to private investment," Alcombright said.

Each component -- government, citizen and private -- needs to be present for the concepts set forth in the plan to be realized, Alcombright said.

The plan has its own website, at, that Greer intends to keep updated with progress made and opportunities for community involvement. The Office of Community Development can be reached at (413) 662-3000, ext. 3025.

To reach Adam Shanks:
or (413) 663-3741, ext. 225.
On Twitter: @EagleAdamShanks


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