North Adams weighs plan to consolidate DPW, other services at new site
NORTH ADAMS — The city is hoping to move the Department of Public Works from its longtime Ashland Street headquarters to new digs on Hodges Cross Road.
Mayor Richard Alcombright has proposed a $995,000 purchase and sale agreement for the former Berkshire Anodizing facility, which would combine all public services, the building department, and wire and alarm services in one location.
"Our DPW, cemetery, salt shed and parks and recreation facilities are old, worn and in need of significant repair and replacement," Alcombright said.
The purchase would be immediately followed by a series of improvements and repairs that would not exceed $107,000. The work includes "window work, interior painting and repairs, plumbing, removal of sludge waste as well as a large concrete clarifier used in the anodizing process," Alcombright said.
And while a full list of capital improvements has yet to be finalized, Alcombright estimates the city will need an additional $350,000 for "mechanical lifts for machinery, two large overhead bay doors," and more.
The proposal, which carries a $1.45 million pricetag, was introduced to the council on Tuesday and, though discussion was limited, councilors expressed interest in learning more about the financing package. A special meeting of the council will be held on Monday to further explore the proposal, including an exploration of the current DPW facilities on Ashland Street.
Councilor Robert Moulton, Jr. was concerned the purchase would require taking the property off of the tax rolls. And Councilor Lisa Blackmer lamented the hastiness of the proposal, which Alcombright hopes to have finalized in a matter of weeks.
Alcombright expects to introduce a borrowing plan to pay for the acquisition and improvements in the coming weeks.
The owner of the building has provided the city with an environmental review and the city is having an outside firm review the report, according to Alcombright. He expects to present the review to the council in September.
The city issued a request for proposals for a Department of Public Works facility earlier this year and 59 Hodges Cross Road LLC was the only respondent, according to Alcombright. More well known as Berkshire Anodizing, the businesses was called Colonial Anodizing when it closed in 2015.
The owner of the parcel has entered an agreement with a solar company for a 20-year lease that would be transferred to the city if the council approved the purchase.
With the land that would come with the purchase, which abuts the Southview Cemetery, the city also would be able to add about 2,400 to 3,000 plots to the burial site.
Alcombright said he wants the Department of Public Works to be moved into the new facility before the winter.
Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376.