Our Opinion: A new proposal for North Adams' downtown
Heritage State Park and the Mohawk Theater have been tough nuts for North Adams to crack over the years. Ideally, this latest effort will get it done.
The plan will be unveiled this morning in a ceremony at Western Gateway Heritage State Park to be attended by former Governors Michael Dukakis and William Weld. The presence of the governors is appropriate as both played key roles in the development of Mass MoCA in the city. Thomas Krens, who pioneered the MoCA concept, is at the center of the new plan to be unveiled today.
The city plans a railroad and architecture museum at the Heritage State Park that Mayor Richard Alcombright says will tie into the city's industrial legacy (Berkshire Eagle, December 4). The remarkable Hoosac Tunnel alone gives North Adams strong links to railroad history. A plan to redevelop the park unravelled earlier this year after struggling to find its footing.
The Mohawk, built on Main Street in 1938 but closed since 1991, has been the subject of a variety of revival plans. A way has to be found for it to fill the downtown role of a draw for residents and visitors that similar buildings do in Pittsfield and Great Barrington.
Mr. Krens, a resident of Williamstown and the former director of the Guggenheim Foundation in New York City, in August announced plans for a Global Contemporary Collection and Museum on the grounds of the Harriman-West Airport. Construction of this ambitious project outside of North Adams' downtown will coincide with the museum and Mohawk efforts downtown. If successful, they will combine to give the city a significant economic boost that is greatly needed.
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